The Elk Grove Monarchy - Don’t Blame the City Manager!

By D.J. Blutarsky | Guest Commentary |

Up until now, I didn’t really know who was responsible for the long pattern of City missteps, unwise fiscal deals, lawsuits, bloated bureaucracy, traffic congestion, etc. Up until now, I didn’t know if it was a flawed city manager or flawed leadership at the city council level. Now I know.

Tucked away on the February 14 City Council Consent Agenda is the acknowledgement of a successful performance evaluation of the City Manager and more perks to his contract. Now we know for sure–the City Manager has been doing his job all along, so that means the City Council is responsible for everything that happens!

It would be easy to get sidetracked and focus on the perks of Jason Behrmann’s contract–$315,000/year salary, $500/month auto allowance, seven weeks of paid vacation, fully paid medical and supplemental medical for his entire family, etc. But to do so would be missing the main point–the Mayor and City Council are firmly in the driver’s seat and pulling the levers of the City and also control who gets in whenever a vacancy occurs.

It is not much of a stretch to call the Mayor and City Council the “Elk Grove Monarchy”. With a quarter of a million dollars in her campaign war chest, Mayor Bobbie is virtually guaranteed the Mayor’s throne for as long as she wants it. Who else can come up with that kind of money to unseat her, or who in their right mind would WANT to throw that kind of money into an unpaid figurehead position?

Then there are the four members of her majesty’s Court–the two most recent-elected who lapped up her endorsement and rode her coattails into office–the other two, just biding time until something better comes along–or for one of them, at least until his campaign debt is paid off.

With an unbeatable war chest and highly effective public relations strategy, the Queen of the Elk Grove Monarchy has a virtual lock on the throne and more importantly, who gets to join her court and who gets the developer money funneled to them. No one gets in unless you are given the endorsement and the money–all others need not apply!

It is nice to finally know that the City Manager is not the weak link in the City, but in a way it is kind of disheartening. Instead of unseating one person responsible for the City’s missteps, we now have to deal with five.

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