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March 22, 2005
  UNRESPONSIVE? / SLUSH FUNDS? a column by John Lewis


John Lewis currently is Place 1
North Richland Hills City Councilman

Ron West continually implies that no council person resounded to his concerns on budget matters prior to approval. This is consistent with his pattern of distortions and half truths. I had open correspondence with Ron West last August, prior to the approval of the City of North Richland Hills Budget. This correspondence was posted on LNO.
 (Click Here to see that correspondence).  Also, I am aware that our City Manager wrote West on the illegalities regarding many of West’s recommended cuts to the budget.

In my discussion, I wrote “Government accounting is quite different from private accounting. It took me some time during my first year as a councilman to get comfortable with the difference even though I am a degreed accountant.” West, in his typical fashion to inflame our citizens wrote in rebuttal, “This may be a repetition of the city’s position that no citizen is qualified to criticize what they could not possibly understand.”

Corresponding with West has proven futile as he ignores any valid points made and constantly paraphrases whatever is written to meet his agenda. He insists on branding the Council and Staff as non-caring elitists, feeding on the common citizen for the personal gain and patronage of friends. There is little reason to wonder why his constant barrage of charges are not frequently rebutted, however I guess that is part of his strategy of intimidation.

West and my opponent in this year’s election, Suzette Christopher, continue to accuse the City of maintaining a “Slush Fund” of $4,843,134 to be used at the whim of our City Manager. As discussed in my opening remark, Government Fund Accounting is much different than private accounting. I see this difference as well at Tarrant County College while instructing new personnel how to navigate in the accounting software program used by TCC. 

I posed similar questions on these items during my first Council budget session in 2003 and readily received an explanation of the line items summarized in the “sundry” budget account. I feel if Christopher and West really wanted to know what the sundry account included, they would have employed their formal running mates elected last year to provide them the detail. I suspect though, that Christopher’s current campaign is better served to continue to paint current council and city staff as dishonest spendthrifts.

I have requested our city manager to provide all council members the detail in both departments to dispel the charges which Christopher and West continue to spew out. Anticipating this information will be shared with them by their chosen councilmember, Nancy Bielik, I eagerly await their next volley.

Please visit my website  to learn my views on issues impacting “My City of Choice” North Richland Hills.

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