Technology Isn’t A Dirty Word.

Not being comfortable using technology is an excuses that is no longer acceptable. Some elected officials in Dearborn Heights act like technology is a dirty word.
Unfortunately we have an administration (the Mayor) who can’t use, doesn’t understand the technology, and/or isn’t remotely interested in even trying.
A council who the majority of refuse to take the time to investigate how to use technology to the advantage of the City. Councilman Berry and Councilwoman Badalow both have suggested at separate times using technology to monitor fuel consumption. In both instances went no where. Why?

For a group of elected who constantly say that their role is to be stewards of the taxpayers money. Then why aren’t they being good stewards of the money ? Why aren’t the stewards of our money using technology to save the taxpayers money?

Why should a whole City have to suffer because a very few just don’t want to try. In the year 2013 every study, every bid, contract, proposal, and invoice can be sent electronically. Every council meeting should be archived on the City web site for anyone at any time to watch them. Why shouldn’t every gallon of gas be accounted for? Why shouldn’t cars being taken home by department heads and the Mayor be tracked. Why would the Mayor object to this? Could it be he’s using that car for personal use? 

Why doesn’t City Hall have free wifi at the very least during the council meetings. There are people that would like to tweet the meetings, live blog the meetings and so on. Why can’t we have our council meetings on Twitter and Facebook giving the public a chance to ask questions through those social mediums. That would require wifi for such a thing and someone to monitor a Twitter feed and Face Book page. Oh that’s right the City doesn’t have either one. Again technology isn’t a dirty word, but hard to tell that here in Dearborn Heights.  

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15 thoughts on “Technology Isn’t A Dirty Word.”

  1. To all blog readers:

    Why the city government not posting the council meetings on line? Council meetings can be streamlined on city website either live or the next day. The technology is widely available and accessible.

    The trend in education is distance learning! Its a click on the website and here you are – Sound and motion pictures in 3 D configuration!

    An I phone 64 can do the job and post on social media!

    The city received payments from the cable companies as follow:
    Since 2010 as showing in FY 2013-14 adopted budget. ( check the city website)

    1-Comcast: $2,307,311.00
    2-W.O.W : $1,046,671.00
    3-AT&T : $ 721,432.00
    Total : $4,075,414.00

    Questions:

    1-Why those companies pay that huge amount to the city?

    2-Is those payments are restricted revenue for cable related public services?

    3-Is all these revenue been spent? and on what?

    4-Who control these revenue? Is there a city cable commission? When and were they meet? And how the agenda(Public information) can be requested?

    5-Is there are agreements between the city and those companies? What department manage the cable commission? Any council member is on the cable commission? Who represent the administration on the cable commission?

    6-Why the sound during the council meeting is low?

    7-What assistance the city provide to the deaf city citizens to help them listen to council meetings?

    8-Is there any fund balance(Surplus cable fund balance)?

    9-What those companies pays to the city, and since they are (for profit organizations), they, for sure charge the city subscribers for that.

    10-With that much funding a lot of cable related improvements and up-grades can be done.

    11-If you know the answers to some or all the questions above, please write them in a comment.

    12-Thank you for reading, reading is one of the best ways to increase knowledge and develop wisdom.

    13-Sharing information by private citizens to benefit or enhance public services is a civic duty, but an obligation for public servants.

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  2. Any news on the electronic council agenda? Why not copy-cat city of Dearborn? What preventing Dearborn Heights (DH) from that? Are we partnering with them on IT business?

    Hello

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  3. Councilwoman Lisa Hicks-Clayton says:

    “This would include items such as ordinances, grant opportunities and community services offered. We must make every attempt to reach out to all residents via various means- technology,i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, City web page, fliers available at City buildings, mailers via U.S. postal service, cable channel and face-to-face opportunities including Town Hall Meetings, Meet & Greets and Office Hours.”

    You sound like a good mayor eager to serve the public!

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  4. Councilwoman Lisa Hicks-Clayton,

    I hope you read my comment and will research and answer the questions.

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  5. Truthtelling, Thanks for explaining this. I see what you mean now.

    Bottom line is that the mayor made his “budget look good” by the money we gave him with the HO and borrowing from the library fund (even though it is paid off in the same financial year). Its just a smoke and mirrors magic trick by our mayor and another way of trying to get more money from the taxpayers by threatening us with the library. The surplus is there to make him look good but hasn’t a bit of substance behind it.

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  6. Grandma Suzanne,

    Just for further clarifications.

    The inner-governmental funds borrowing was cleared by a legal opinion and the state so far allowing this practice unless they determine that the municipality will not be able pay-back the borrowed balances. That when the state put the municipality under financial observation of a deficit plan and ultimately an FM if the financial situation deteriorated further.

    In Dearborn Heights, the HO was definitely the financial live support to the city public services.

    If the practice of inner-governmental borrowing was prohibited than municipalities general operating funds would’ve been in the black because they will be limited to spending only the FY revenues and the general fund balance.

    I pray that I was not confusing you with this municipal accounting and fiance information. Governmental and municipal accounting change according to changes in the rules and regulations.

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  7. Grandma Suzanne,

    1- Go to city website, click on 2013-14 adopted budget, it is all images, no hand written page numbers on the first 5 pages, count 1,2,3 and lock in that page last line, it will read ” Surplus $1,562,723

    2- Inner-governmental funds borrowing are done by city council resolutions, they usually paid during the same fiscal years unless there is a balance not been paid, that will show as a liability for the general fund.

    As an example, 2013-14 budget on page 4 showing $2,160,079 as Sanitation Levy fund balance (debit). The last column of page 4 showing FY deficits and payments without recording were the payments are made to.

    If in past fiscal years there was a borrowing from the library fund and not paid at the end of that FY, than it will show similar to FY 2013-14
    and will read Library fund balance and the $ amount.

    For FY 2013-14 there is no outstanding Library Fund Balance that the general fund need to pay.

    If the general fund borrowed from the library fund in FY 2012-13 than it should be a council resolution fro that. You can check with the mayor office or city treasurer office or search the council agendas back-ups on city website under council, regarding that.

    I hope I was able to assist you with my limited knowledge and education.

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  8. Could someone please help me out. I hear all these numbers regarding the budget bantered about but I am unable to find out where they are on the 52 pages of the budget.

    What page number of the budget shows the “surplus”?

    What page number/s shows that borrowing from library is being made?

    Thanks.

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  9. Councilwoman Lisa Hicks-Clayton,

    I’m very happy to see public servants (PS) in DH coming to this blog to read and engage in discussion. And as you promised, your actions proved and shows your commitment to serve the public by seeking information and concerns about DH from any media outlets regardless who they are. The more (PS) we have like you, the better the city will be. (PS) should never hide from public debates unless they avoiding public scrutiny and questioning. Thank you.

    Good news: The closing of the city non-emergency operations on Fridays continue since September 2011, indicating that its beneficiary to the city, therefore, please address the following and correct me and set the record straight if needed, the aim is to put the most accurate and factual information for the public to benefits from:

    A- Definition of the closing of the city non-emergency operations on Fridays:
    The city of Dearborn Heights started closing for non-emergency business on Fridays back on 26/2011 to save 8 daily non-emergency operational hours of salaries per week (May includes payroll taxes but excluding benefits) and to reduce some of non-emergency buildings operational cost.

    B- Analyses of the closing of the city non-emergency operations on Fridays:
    Since 9/26/2011 the accumulated numbers of non-emergency Fridays and hours are:
    1- In 2011: 15 Fridays = 120 hours
    2- In 2012: 52 Fridays = 416 hours
    3- In 2013: 30 Fridays = 240 hours (Up-to July 2013 for easy count)
    4- Total hours = 776 city non-emergency operational hours

    C Questions regarding the closing of the city non-emergency operations on Fridays:
    1- Any effect analyses and evaluation study done on this program?
    2- How many difficulties in qualitative measurement the closing caused to citizens?
    3- How much dollars saving in employees salaries from 776 operational hours so far as defined above (The saving will include all employees hours who are not working Fridays including public officials)?
    4- How much saving in buildings operational cost?

    D- Summary of the closing of the city non-emergency operations on Fridays:
    1- The city normal operation days are 5 days per week.
    2- Closing for business for one day = 1/5 = 20% cost saving from closing of the city non-emergency operations on Fridays.
    3- The city should brag about the significant saving from closing of the city non-emergency operations on Fridays.
    4- The city should be a bench mark for other municipalities to follow.
    5- The program should be illustrated on the city front page website all nuts and bolts of the savings that this program contributed to the defect reduction of the city.
    6- The savings was part of the promise to Dearborn Heights citizens to vote for the HO.
    7- This task should be easy for a city with 2 elected officials CPA’s, and one of the best accounting firm in the world. (Those figures should be on record and available to the council for review and evaluation)

    E- General information related to the closing of the city non-emergency operations on Fridays:
    1- Addressing the above program in general and proved the dollars figures in specific for the public using any media outlet including this blog. An editorial in the Press and Guide will be one of best outcome of this dialog. I challenged myself and others that you exhibit the highest level of integrity and transparency; also you are knowledgeable, able, and capable of addressing this matter.
    2- Continuing the 20% reductions of non-emergency services will depends on Transparent, accurate and detailed study. Otherwise it’s “shooting from the hip” reacting not responding.
    3- Do you close your business doors on Fridays, losing some customers and angering others, and sending your employees homes with 20% less pay without your accounting books showing material benefits?
    4- Some of the city council members own successful business, others manage successful enterprises. They should be asking and demanding for the results of these 20% reductions in city non-emergency services.
    5- The administration of the city also is full of experienced and knowledgeable officials and staff and also capable of conducting and crushing numbers to produce accurate results.

    F- You are free to use this comment as your own and publish its content fully or partially with or without editing or corrections under your name without regard to given any credit. The information is public and the public is the owners.

    G- Sharing information by private citizens to benefit or enhance public services is a civic duty, but an obligation for public servants.

    H- Public trust is the scale used to measure public official’s performance.

    I- Elections are the pass or fail exams public officials must tack at the end of their terms or up-on recalls.

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  10. Lisa is there anyway you can get the proposal from Salem One posted on your Facebook page and directions on how to get to your page?

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  11. For the record, on more than one occassion, I have and will continue tio advocate for utilization of technology and improved communication opportunities and services. Yes. I have a Council Facebook page (posting a variety of community driven information) and would love to see our City have a page. Twitter and Linkedin as well. The City of Westland is a fine example of utilizing social networking to assist and enable residents to remain connected and informed. I have meet with the Mayor in regard to exploring an on going investment in communication opportunities for our residents. This would include items such as ordinances, grant opportunities and community services offered. We must make every attempt to reach out to all residents via various means- technology,i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, City web page, fliers available at City buildings, mailers via U.S. postal service, cable channel and face-to-face opportunities including Town Hall Meetings, Meet & Greets and Office Hours.

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