If the Department Of Economic Affairs is the pinnacle of needless government expansion, then the Sister City Program is the definition of misplaced priorities. The city is spending $5052 to teach 3 French students how to sail a 36 foot sailboat, part of the Sister City program with one of our sister cities in France.
The mayor visited France in the summer of 2007, when she went to Europe for 2 months, by boat, and learned about cognac and bicycles.
I have come to expect that money will be spent without regard to the economic circumstance of the city. I'm not surprised and I don't have much more to say about the arrogance and ignorance displayed by the administration. I don't care if it was "scheduled far in advance" or "part of a reciprocal program".
What I'm more interested in is that the city admits to spending money on the program. For a long time, the Mayor claimed that she and Aldermen traveled across the world on their own dime, which nobody believed. It was thought that the 'education and training' budget was tapped for the sister city program.
The article claimed that the trip was funded through the 'Sister City Program', but I could find no such program in the budget. What I did find in the budget was that the Mayor's personnel budget is up by 11%, and the Mayor's "other operating expenditures" were up 29% ($80,000)!!
You may also be interested to know that the Public Information budget is up 86%. The personnel budget for that office is more than $192,000....and there's only 1 full time employee.
Umm...are we being punked?!