Letter: $20K to investigate Red Deer city councillor’s remark

None of us, no matter how successful our personal or professional lives might be, can say we’ve never at some point made an ill-considered or flippant remark or comment. It’s part of life.

So it is with experienced and respected city council or Buck Buchanan. Six words on social media he will always regret. But somehow, within the bowels of city hall, the decision was made that $20,000 must be spent investigating this terrible faux pas. Not enough to say “Come on fella, you really should apologize.” Nope, we have to bring in outside consultants to investigate those blasphemous words, and produce a 97 page report that solves nothing.

I’m left with questions. What can be said that takes 97 pages? How many of those 97 pages deal with the issue at hand, and how many are simply boilerplate that the consultants include in every report? And how did we arrive at a fee of $20,000? How would that compare to the fee one would expect to pay a professional for the preparation of a will, a driver’s license medical, a condominium reserve fund study, a small-business annual financial statement, or a real estate appraisal?

Admittedly $20,000 is but a tiny portion of the city’s annual budget, but this matter brings to light the question of how often is council and administration throwing away that kind of money in return for questionable or negligible value? What other five-figure cheques are written in exchange for services of no discernable benefit to taxpayers? Was $20,000 the best deal we could get for the services offered?

The issue here is not so much one good councillor’s momentary lapse of judgement, but rather city hall’s custodianship of our tax dollars.

Richard D. McDonell, Red Deer