Beyond Locals Only, Volume V: Ethics and the City

There is a “study session” on “ethics” in Ocean Shores today .  . .

*What are the “ethics” of the mayor — who has taken it upon herself to be the city’s (i.e., taxpayers’) labor negotiations representative — being “Facebook friends” with a union representative?

*What are the “ethics” of the mayor not recusing herself from negotiations with the “Exempt Employees” group, even though she regularly meets to strategize on a number of issues with the public safety chief and finance director, two of the Exempts?

*What are the “ethics” of the City of Ocean Shores having an ad on the website of the Daily World — which, presumably, is providing impartial coverage of the city?

*What are the “ethics” of the library hiring as a highly-paid computer consultant the husband of a library board member (who later resigned, but only after this was reported on in the North Coast News)? What are the “ethics” of this computer consultant position only being put out to bid as an apparent attempt to “show voters we’re transparent”? And what are the “ethics” of the Request for Qualifications for the library computer consultant position being copy-and-pasted from a proposal submitted by the consultant who was already doing the work — didn’t this give him “the inside track,” to say the least?

*What are the “ethics” of the library director not revealing where she got the information from for her RFQ, when she was asked point blank — and when her response to a a public records request asking for all documents used in the RFQ did not include that consultant’s proposal?

*What are the “ethics” of the mayor putting out a survey asking citizens to prioritize what they want from the city — but ignoring repeated blunt criticisms and cherry picking what suits her agenda?

*What are the “ethics” of a highly paid Finance Department employee being allowed to work from home . . . and still being paid thousands of dollars in overtime?

*What are the “ethics” of the city’s finance director not simply providing information to city councilors on a proposed ambulance utility, but dominating study sessions by repeatedly arguing “it’s the right thing to do”?

*What are the “ethics” of the Public Safety Chief implying Ocean Shores responders will not go in the water, because they won’t be paid extra for it?

*What are the “ethics” of the mayor ignoring several requests to delay votes until all city councilors would be present?

*What, in conclusion. are the “ethics” of the City of Ocean Shores?

About Tom Scanlon

Tom Scanlon started his journalism career as a sports stringer with the Pittsburgh Press (RIP) and Post-Gazette, then moved on to the Seattle Times, Mesa Tribune etc. He is the author of plays including "The Superhumans" and novels including "Ocean Shores Tourist Killer," "Atlantis City," and, now, "The Immaculate Jagoffs of Pittsburgh."
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27 Responses to Beyond Locals Only, Volume V: Ethics and the City

  1. AnonyMe says:

    A number of these issues can be attributed to the posssibility that a number of highly paid employees still maintain their amateur standing. Time in grade does not necessarily equal professionalism and real world experience; it can also mean that one has held on well in Podunk. As to the ethics of the mayor as questioned, they appear to come directly from the code of Conan. She will continue to outwit and out-maneuver the council until at least 4 have had a bellyful and learn to work together to stop her. Until that time the empress will preside.

  2. Words of Truth says:

    A fool’s way is right in his own eyes, but whoever listens to counsel is wise.

  3. Albatross says:

    I can’t speak to most of these but by posing the questions like this Tom, apparently you think there is something wrong.

    As to the City paying for advertising in The Daily World, I just don’t see any problem there at all. The City has likely paid tens of thousands to The North Coast News over the years, did that taint your coverage? I find your questioning of the ethics on this issue odd given your newspaper background and I’m not sure you do yourself any favors including this in a list that may include items with more validity.

    Sorry, this one and a few others seem a bit shrill, as if this is meant to serve as much of a personal agenda as it is a public service one. As such, you shoot yourself in the foot when otherwise you might actually make a difference.

    • “Tens of thousands”? I don’t think so. Tens, maybe. . . .

      • Albatross says:

        Oh, I thought NCN published legal notices for Ocean Shores.

        • Albatross says:

          Regardless, the argument that newsrooms cannot be objective because of advertising is an interesting one coming from a newspaper person.

        • Albatross says:

          Since you worked for that company, perhaps you know something we don’t? Have you seen TDW look the other way because of advertising? Do you in fact find it unethical?

          • Most newspapers believe there should be a “wall” between advertising and editorial, and that neither should influence the other. I share that point of view.

            • Albatross says:

              Did that actually address anything? Ah well, best to you in your endeavors then.

              • AnonyMe says:

                Albatross; do you ever actually have anything relevant to say or is your needle just stuck on “nasty attack”?

                • Albatross says:

                  Not trying to be nasty, only trying to make a point, several in fact. These are not personal in nature (which would be “nasty,” as in Thomas Nast, the newspaper cartoonist from whom that word derives) but exercises in critical thinking. Instead of making a “case,” presenting a viewpoint, or even presenting just the facts, Tom here is hiding behind the excuse of “just asking questions” while implying either wrongdoing or ethical lapses through a sarcastic tone and the use of quotes around “ethical,” which of course implies the opposite.

                  I question both the efficacy of one of his points and his motivation, which any good reporter does daily. In short, I think Tom is better than this. If he has something to say, he should say it, make his point, back it up and present a cogent argument. He has never been more free to do so. Even if he wishes to impugn the professional ethics of his former employer, he can tackle that head on, not snipe at their heels. See, that’s the thing – posts like his above are just … kinda nasty.

                  He can do better, or not. He’s free to do either. So yes, I think it was quite relevant even if the nuance was lost in translation. I sincerely wish Tom the best and hope he doesn’t let Ocean Shores continue to eat him alive with its bitterness, and nastiness, as it has done to so many others.

              • Albatross says:

                And I’ll add that Tom’s statement of obvious fact regarding the wall between the newsroom and the advertising department didn’t address any of the points raised, it was deflection worthy of a politician. Sorry Tom, but do you want your commenters to just cheerlead you on? I honestly meant these comments to be helpful. Exiting the stage.

                • Politician? Or poker player? . . . .Stay tuned . . . .

                • Not the ingénue says:

                  I think that most of us understand the “sarcastic tone” used by Tom. We all use that tool to bring forward thoughtful discussions. Obviously some don’t agree with his point of view or even the fact that he questioned the motives of the city and the Daily World. However, the Daily World has at times shown its hand in shaping opinion. They and the radio hosts at KOSW and KBKW act as cheerleaders instead of investigators of the truth and thus give the public a well rounded discussion of any issue presented.

                • AnonyMe says:

                  Albatross; whether I agree or not, a reasoned comment.

                • Inquiriing Minds Want 2 Know says:

                  I thought it was “unique” to have a link from the DW with a question and when you clicked on it, you were linked to Why wouldn’t you have been linked to the visitors bureau or the convention center (that needs to be rented!!)
                  I agree with Tom. I have had some of the same thoughts and have had discussions regarding these same issues.
                  Ethics and appearance of fairness are 2 topics that keep coming to mind. And after having witnessed who was in support of a code of ethics that they could use to tar and feather the other councilors, I have even less respect to the 2 councilors that presented it. They looked power hungry and judge and jury. A severe case of the pot calling the kettle black.

            • guatdajel says:

              Back in the ’70’s, a DW staffer reported on her won activities as an OS city councilor,

  4. George says:

    This blog is read because of how badly Ocean Shores has been mismanaged and is still being mismanaged. It is not about the blog master. Any free thinking, free individual can pick and choose from opinions to form conclusions. It takes skill and training which our city government does not have to be unbiased. People may be not participating but they are not stupid and can distinguish when somebody is trying to debase opinion and stifle debate. The topics draw attention because of a bad, untrusted, inept city government not by what the blog master writes. Readers need to look at arguments pro and con and if the starting premises are valid to make their own opinions. That is the basis of critical thinking. What is being imposed on taxpayers from city hall with no debate and no analysis of pro and con is certainly not critical thinking.

  5. AnonyMe says:

    Right on, George!!!!

  6. AnonyTroll says:

    Who are you to question ethics. Ever wonder why your unemployed? I dont. You Tom are ethically and morally corrupt. You stirred up controversy just to sell papers and appease your faithful 13 readers who talk about critical thinking but know little of it. Now your just looking for revenge for getting the boot. Your shame is masked with anger about city action but we all know its just shame you feel. Ya the city has made mistakes, but this mayor works for very little money. She works extremely hard with fewer employees. Get off her case already, you just look silly. Dont bother anonyme, this whole town tuned you out long ago, stick to walking your best friend.

    • outta here! says:

      Awesome, except for the mayor part.

    • Long live the Queen! says:

      And how do you really feel? As to the mayor, she signed up for the job. In fact, she voted for the current salary. She knew what she agreed to do for the pay she gets. That is not Tom’s or any other person’s fault. She said she could do the job at the pay offered. She, as a council member, knew what the city finances were like. It was no surprise to her. So, if she makes an error, acts irrationally, assumes any arrogant attitudes, or stubborn responses, it is she that still is at fault and needs to face the criticism.

      • AnonyBoast says:

        At the time she got elected there were plans to hire a city administrator, then the council decided to do a hiring freeze. Classic bait and switch. How soon you all forget. Now she has to do both jobs and be the public works director. Would you do it for less then 1500/month working more than 40 hours a week. If not shut your pie hole. As far as her being arrogant. She represents the executive branch of our small government. She does not have to agree with the council. As the executive she gets make decisions on how money is spent. If you dont like it move to Arizona with Tom. You folks voted for the change in government, now you have to live with it.

        • Put it to a vote says:

          There was only discussion about a city administrator. Everyone knew we could not afford one. That was November 2011. The budget for 2012 and now 2013 did not have a city administrator. The public works director had already retired during Mr. French’s term. Mr. French was the acting PW Director then. In April 2012 she stated “The possibility of hiring a city administrator now seems distant, at best, considering Ocean Shores’ financial position.” So, she knew. As to the decisions on how money is spent, you might want to review the laws of the state. She only can spend as the budget is set forth by the legislative branch. She must work within those constraints and the constraints allowed by the Ocean Shores Ordinances. That is why they have the consent agenda every council meeting and also council members review the “warrants” issued by the city. As to the “change in government”, they voted then to try the experiment and they can vote to return to the old system in 2014 if desired. Maybe that would be a good idea. No paying a mayor and potential city administrator that only answers to the mayor. Maybe the old city manager program with 4 council members able to remove them is the best for Ocean Shores. That and real transparency may be the route to saving Ocean Shores. Who knows. Maybe even going completely to the county is the answer. Let the voters decide.

  7. Chey says:

    I don’t buy the North Coast News anymore. I tried it three weeks. No news of the town, just promotional banter, like that seasonal rag the Daily World places in motel rooms. Tom, thanks for caring and striving. You do make a difference! From AZ no less!

  8. Chey says:

    I thought to throw my 2 quarters at the office of the new NCN, then thought better. Wooden nickles!

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