The state shut down, but city didn'tCity government didn’t shut down, though by looking at the response so far to our information requests, you may wonder otherwise.
How’s your state pride now that the government shutdown has ended?
In the wake of everybody getting back to work, I realized that last week, before the shutdown ended, I received a copy of the 2011-2012 Minnesota Legislative Manual, a 648-page behemoth that I could have sworn went by the wayside in the era of instant internet info.
You will find all the facts and figures about our state along with a who’s-who in the Legislature. All of which can be found more easily on the web. But if the power goes out and I need to know what the state gemstone is, the lyrics and music of the state song, or who represents Anytown, Minnesota, I’ll have this book to root around for in the dark.
Here it was, a thud on desk. It came with a Moose Lake postmark, so I’m assuming the prison population down there didn’t get time off during the shutdown. Expect little delays in the mailing of your license plates as well.
It was a curious three weeks of sorting through what parts of government were operational and which were not.
The gypsy moth spraying was a go. I have since realized that since the eradication program is funded federally, it was allowed to go on this month. Problem is, getting the word out on when that spraying occurs was the job of state Department of Agriculture, which didn’t exist for 20 days of the month.
So if you saw those low-flyers over your property the past week and then got a big postcard with an angry looking gypsy moth on it, know that it is perhaps the quintessential descriptor about how state and federal government are working these days, singly or as partners.
We should praise both state park goers and those who work there for keeping our North Shore jewels in good shape and getting them open quickly last weekend after the shutdown. Conservation officers from the Department of Natural Resources also deserve a hand as they added park patrol to their duties.
Check on the city
City government didn’t shut down, though by looking at the response so far to our information requests, you may wonder otherwise.
As you read two weeks ago, we had 11 requests for data from the city. Here are those requests again and the four responses we’ve received so far from the city. I’ll leave it to residents to decide if they find the information useful or credible.
Request: Request for review all city council and city administration expense reports from Feb. 1, 2011, to July 8, 2011.
City answer: No such data.
Request: Request for review the contract between City of Two Harbors and company providing fireworks on Fourth of July in 2010 and 2011. With that, any information regarding the actual handler of the fireworks on site in Two Harbors, including information showing licensure in Minnesota to handle such fireworks. And any communications, electronic or otherwise, between city representatives and the fireworks company and or its agents from July 4, 2010 to July 4, 2011.
City answer: Copy of 2009 contract and notes from July 2010 on the deal that 2011 fireworks cost would be reduced because of the accident in 2010 when they all went off at once. City supplied no information on handler of fireworks or any proof that they were licensed, a state requirement.
Request: Request for review a copy of the city policy on lending city-owned equipment to the public, specifically audio/ visual material, and logs showing what groups or individuals used city-owned equipment and for how long, if available.
City answer: Policy on renting provided but list of who has rented provided no names, as city cited state data privacy law regarding library lending.
Request: Request for review the city employee survey administrated by RJF and the results as compiled.
City answer: Survey results have not been compiled. City employees say it has and is being held up by administration. RJF confirmed that the survey has been completed.