As a former city council member (Mendon, Utah), I pay some attention to the articles regarding the actions of local city governments. The article about the city council of Sunset voting to spend $3,790 on iPads (half of which will be used by the council members themselves) really struck a nerve. Council members Petersen and Carlson apparently have a good sense of their duties as representatives of the people of Sunset; they voted against the purchase, but council members Furniss, Andrews, and Snow appear to lack understanding of their responsibilities. I urge the people of Sunset to consider replacing Furniss, Andrews, and Snow the next time they appear on the ballot.
What Furniss, Andrews, and Snow don’t seem to understand is that the biggest part of their job is to handle the people’s money in a frugal and responsible manner – buying themselves iPads is certainly not as important as countless other projects that every city needs. Even in the unlikely event that the city has an extra $3,790 laying around, it should be put in the city’s rainy day fund, so that it can be used to help the city recover from an unforeseen problem. My point is that it is unethical for members of city government to put their personal interests ahead of the city’s needs, and that’s what this iPad purchase will be. I recognize that we’re only talking a tenth of a percent of the city’s budget, but you have to be concerned about how Furniss, Andrews, and Snow will vote when the stakes are higher.
As a former city council member, I urge these men to reconsider this decision and reassess their priorities.