Monday, April 8, 2013

Questions for the Candidates for Mayor (should they choose to answer)

Now is the time for questions and answers from the candidate for mayor. So, I have put together a few questions that hold the most interest for me. I sent these questions out to both candidates about 11am this morning. I told them if they answer I will post their response word for word. So far, I have not had and responses from either of them, which is not a surprise. They are probably juggling more things in a week than I do in a month, maybe even though out a whole year (pretty boring and uneventful life). I hope they do answer the questions. If they don’t take the time to answer the questions listed, then it won’t be considered a big deal by me either. So after the jump the 11 questions I am most interested in.
As for comments about the questions, please feel free to express if you think they questions are good, bad or a waste of time.
If you have your own questions, email the candidate. They will probably answer your requests.

Update 4/9 - The Amir Omar Campaign contacted me and said they would be pleased to answer the questions.


The Questions


In 2010 we had a bond election. Through Freedom of Information requests the city officials state that the estimate for each project was made, then 30% was added for cost overruns. On top of that, 5% was added to cover administration fees and was transferred to the General Fund to support city manager’s salaries. Staff, including the city management team, is already paid their salaries and benefit out of the General Fund.

1 – Do you believe it is a wise use of bond many to finance salaries over the 20-30 year life of the bonds approved by the citizens?

2 – As a Councilperson or Mayor, would you make it a top priority to eliminate the transfer of bond money to the General Fund and restrict its use for only the specific purpose (specific item) for which it was intended to be used.

3 – Would you support applying any unused money for each line item in a publicly approved bond where its full amount was not used for the stated purpose rather than redirecting it to another use?

While looking through the 2012 CAFR and earlier CAFRs a large amount of money has been transferred out of dedicated funds for items such as PILOT (payment in Lieu of Taxes), General and Administrative, Road Rental Usage Fees, Franchise Fees, etc.  These monies have been transferred out with little explanation other than that they are administrative fees. There have been no specified expenses for these transfers. The City Charter indicated that there must be specific expenses to allow the transfer of fund from propriety fund accounts for other uses. Hundreds of millions of dollars has been taken from dedicated funds over the past several years.

1 – Do you believe this is a proper uses of dedicated funds?

2 - Would you work towards the elimination of transfer-outs for each dedicated fund where there is no specified expense for such a transfer?

3 – Would you support raising and lowering of fees associated with dedicated funds to adjust fund balances when the reserve become excessive or too low without resorting to transfers-out for a no-fund specific purpose?

Recently the golf pro contract was reworked. As part of the reworking the debt load of the golf course was moved from the Golf Fund to the General Fund. According the CAFRs over the past several years, the golf course has not been profitable and has loses for many of the past several years. It seems that in doing this it will hide the true state of financial affair for the Golf Fund. It will make the Golf Fund seem to be doing better than it would otherwise.

1 – Would you support putting the golf debt back into the Golf Fund to help assure that a clear and true presentation is stated in future financial reports?

2 – The new contract for the golf pro guarantees a minimum net versus a guaranteed gross payment. Would you support future contracts with the golf pro contract to guarantee gross pay over guaranteeing net pay?

3 – Would you as mayor or councilperson make all optional reports with the golf pro made mandatory rather than optional so concerned citizens would have access through public information requests to have access to the full financial picture of how the golf course is performing?


It has been pointed out that Plano is a much bigger city that Richardson and has about 2.5 times the population of Richardson. Richardson has five administrators on the city management team. Plano has three.

1 – Do you think the city management team is top heavy as compared to Plano and other cities?

2 – Would you support reducing the city management team if it were found that Richardson is top-heavy in that area?


  1. Amir will probably answer. There is probably a good chance Laura will not answer. As the establishment candidate she is probably playing defense. I hope the both answer the questions without running to city staff asking them for the answers. Our council members do that too often and at times don't seem to know what to think.

  2. Forgot to say that those are some good questions.

    Thanks for asking them.

  3. If you get a response back more than "We disagree with you" or "We will have to agree to disagree", that will be amazing.