GRANOLAPARK: Certifiable

Councilmember Tim Male


Dear Readers,

Last week (April 2) councilmember Seth Grimes dramatically exclaimed that the council was in violation of it’s own laws. They are supposed to keep maintaining official citizen’s committees, but they have let the Committee on the Environment and the Safe Roadways Committee lapse.

So, this wee they talked about reconstituting these two committees. They shoved another issue into the talk. The council would like the city to be “Sustainable Maryland Certified”, by Sustainable Maryland. This is a new initiative that has the support of the Maryland Municipal League (MML), to which Takoma Park belongs.

One way to get this certification is to have a “green team” – an environmental committee. Hey! We were just talking about an environmental committee!

Yes, they were, and yes, they discussed ways to merge the two, or . . . something. Councilmember Tim Male who once served on the Committee on the Environment, presented a proposal.

A problem popped up immediately. Sustainable Maryland different ideas of who should be on an environmental committee. The suggest a combination of elected officials, city staff, and citizens. The city only appoints residents to committees. The council doesn’t appoint any elected or staff officials to committees because that is seen as a potential conflict of interest.

Councilmember Reuben Snipper was concerned about council members serving on a committee, butt allowed “this is a different kind” of committee. He thought perhaps one councilmember at a time could sit on the committee, that duty rotating to a different councilmember every six months.

Mayor Bruce Williams was opposed to councilmembers and city staff serving on a committee, not only because of potential conflicts of interest, but because it would add to their work duties.

Councilmember Grimes suggested that the green team be a “super committee,” consisting of the resident-only Committee on the Environment, staff, and council.

They will continue to discuss reconstituting committees in the future.

Buh . . . buh . . . buh . . . .

It’s THAT time! You know, time for Takoma Park’s . . . “B” word. The one that rhymes with “nudge-it.” Which is what Your Gilbert would like to do. Nudge it off the community center roof. “Honest, I was just showing it the new solar panels, and suddenly it just . . . uh, slipped.”

But, it takes more than that to knock off the city budget. It has to be done the hard way – hours of meetings, thousands of details, loads of math, and the Droning. Oh, my lord, it’s a Dronefest! There is NO WAY to make a budget review interesting. Unless they got one of those actors who can make a reading of the phone book riveting.  The city needs one of those! More than a Sustainability Coordinator. In OUR opinion, anyway.

So, anyway, they’ve started reviewing the city manager’s 2013 budget. That’s fiscal year 2013, which is different than the actual year because it starts next June. Don’t ask us why. They had the first round at the April 9 meeting, and there’s so very, very much more to come. They often go to two meetings a week to deal with it all.

– Gilbert

About the Author

Gilbert is the pseudonym of a hard-bitten, hard-drinking, long-time Takoma Park resident who maintains the granolapark blog. Gilbert and William L. Brown — Granola Park's mild-mannered chief of staff, researcher, and drink pourer — have never been seen in the same place at the same time.