Salted with Sharks

Citizen’s Letter Read at Oct. 10 Special Meeting

In Community Alert, Village Money Situation on October 16, 2013 at 12:56 pm

Art Melendez read the following letter at the special council meeting on October 10, convened to discuss options for reducing the Village’s general fund balance deficit, which is so severe that according to Reggie Manville (village president), we may be taken over by an emergency manager if an acceptable plan is not reached at the regular meeting on Thursday, October 17. A council member thanked Art for the letter but otherwise he received no response. Art and Christine are full-time Elberta residents.

October 9, 2013

To the Village Council,

We are writing this to express our concerns regarding government management and recent budget concerns.

First of all, we strongly oppose any cuts that may be made to the budget which would directly impact our Department of Public Works. We deeply appreciate the work of Ken Bonney, Corey Toms, and, in the past, Charlie Hendershot, for the many hours they have spent maintaining this village property and protecting our public safety. We acknowledge Ken Bonney for the early morning hours he puts in plowing snow in the winter, the daily water system checks, fixing sewers, potholes and problem solving, and being on duty literally 24 hours a day. He is an asset to this community and his skills and talents are well worth more than his present salary.

Secondly, we would like to see sufficient and appropriate policies and written procedures for the Village Council and Office Management staff which would accompany a new budget. It is suggested that adequate polices are developed and/or reviewed  for the areas of 1. Governance and leadership, including committee formation; 2. Financial, including written policies and procedures for the preparation and review of budgets and  fiscal procedures, including internal control; 3. Policies for legal and regulatory requirements, 4. Policies for human resources and staffing, including current job descriptions; and 5. Written procedures and plans for technology.

I, Christine Walkons, offer my volunteer services to assist in the development and/or review of such policies as per my own knowledge and professional expertise.

Lastly, we recommend that Village governance responsibility includes written ethical codes of conduct regarding business, contractual relationships, professional responsibilities, and human resources. It is expected that this would include areas regarding conflicts of interest and the prohibition of waste, fraud, abuse and other wrongdoing.

We believe that with the appropriate structure and systems in place, such as the development of written procedures and protocols, wise budget planning can begin and the financial future of Elberta can be secured. Our future as a community  not only needs careful financial planning, but cooperation among all leadership and management parties.


Christine Walkons-Melendez, Art Melendez

  1. EXCELLENT letter presenting well-thought out, easy to recommend steps for clearing up perhaps not the budget issues to much but clearly the process or currently the lack thereof…!

  2. Outstanding letter – if the council just used this (and Christine’s kind offer) Elberta could be back on track.

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