Paullina Candidate Forum Takeaway An Editorial
By Richard and Mari Radtke
Thursday October 19 at the Paullina Legion all nine candidates three for mayor and six for city council participated in a forum. Each had an opportunity to introduce themselves and give their thoughts on managing the City of Paullina.
Two of the three mayor candidates have experience in public elected office. Out of the six city council candidates two are experienced in the role. All but one of the candidates put the city’s finances as their top priority.
All of the candidates were aware of the unknown status of Paullina’s finances. It’s been well-known that basic check and balance and reporting duties and systems of the city’s money halted in June 2022. The uncertainty of the state of Paullina’s finances is because transactions of income and spending have not been recorded. For months, from approximately June 2022 until perhaps as late as March 2023 fundamental bookkeeping tasks were not maintained, although the current city clerk and assistant clerk are doing their best to catch these tasks up. The problem was complicated when the removal – or departure – of the city treasurer (a position required by city ordinance) vacated the one official position with the duty to report to council the balance or imbalance of the city’s financial records against the city’s bank statement. The failure to do the basic bookkeeping was hidden – covered up, if you will, by the absence of the legally required monthly reporting. No way should this damage caused by this tactic be minimized.
All of the candidates seemed to recognize how important it is for the public dollars to be accounted for regularly. Eight of those candidates understand the situation as it stands now is unacceptable. The ninth candidate knows how wrong the situation is but seems to want to minimize the damage.
The deepest insight came in the form of a question from an inexperienced candidate. That single question confirmed much suspected conduct by sitting officials. The discussion that evolved from the question was revealing. Questions are good. Each member of the next council would be wise to ask lots of them.
While most people get more enjoyment from neat and tidy environments most of the candidates leaned more toward a balance between enforcement of perfection and being a good neighbor. The candidates seemed to adopt a relaxed, realistic approach to abating the nuisances. Many in the audience seemed to feel this is the approach needed unlike the current standard pushed by some on the currently seated city leadership.
It’s clear there will be a new EMS building in Paullina. While there are still some wrinkles to get ironed out, it will happen.
Because Paullina is facing big demands from the difficult position it is in, experience is necessary. The next council will benefit by having a leader who has first hand knowledge of the role, responsibilities and limitations of a local government official and the ability to stay within those guidelines. But we also think wisdom is needed as well. Fresh faces, fresh energy and fresh ideas explored and executed with wisdom are very needed qualities for the next Paullina leadership positions.
You can watch these candidates state their positions and thoughts on the various issues facing the city on our YouTube channel or at our websites; “belltimescourier.com” or “paullinaiowa.com”.
Voting is Tuesday November 7. There are more candidates than openings. Choose well. There is a lot of damage that needs to be fixed. Denying how this city got to this place will not solve the problems.