His trip to Iowa probably seems fun after this
Aldermen allege fiscal missteps in city government
By Lana Bradstream
September 13, 2006
Rapid City aldermen Sam Kooiker and Mike Schumacher are butting heads with Mayor Jim Shaw and other members of the city council over the budget. Schumacher and Kooiker said information regarding the salaries and City Council travel is being withheld from them and the public. Shaw said that is not true.
“This is an extremely open government,” Shaw said. “If someone wants to know something, all they have to do is ask.”
Schumacher and Kooiker, self-appointed watchdogs for the taxpayers, said they are concerned. According to the aldermen, they asked for the information at the July 5 council meeting and were denied it, after the council approved an extra $28,000 for travel expenses, more than doubling the budgeted amount. The original travel budget was $20,000 and Schumacher said he wonders how the council could have undershot that amount so drastically.
Shaw said the extra $28,000 was appropriated for unestimated costs, such as council members attending conferences.
Johnson said the information has been readily available.
“An itemized list was available. So, it is not true that information was not available,” Johnson said. “Where people went and what money was spent was listed, but every bit of information brought new questions and it went beyond the information regarding travel.”
Schumacher said he was initially concerned over the use of taxpayer funds.
“We asked for the information weeks ago for the supplemental travel ordinance,” said Schumacher. “We asked for an audit of the travel expenditures made. It was denied and we were told to ask for the information later. We asked for a continuation. Our concern is that there is work behind the scenes by the mayor and council leadership.”and...
“This is public information,” said Kooiker. “We have a right to this information as citizens and as City Council members. We’re spending more on travel. We demand to get this information. If there is nothing to hide, then why are we experiencing smoke and mirrors?”
According to Schumacher, Shaw is filling up his city-issued Dodge Durango at the city fuel pumps, and it is impossible to track whether the fuel is being used for professional or personal reasons. He said witnesses saw the mayor in the Durango in Wyoming on a Saturday morning in March. “If he’s in Wyoming, he’s not on call. The vehicle is supposed to be used for city business,” he said.