Here is the letter that I sent to Onalaska Council President Diane Wulf after she led the charge to dismantle the Technology Committee:
Council President Wulf,
I watched and listened to the recent City Council meeting online and I wanted to take this opportunity to let you know how deeply disappointed I am that you led the charge to eliminate the technology committee just so the bureaucrats working at city hall can have an easier time coordinating meetings. Do you represent the bureaucrats or the people?
I agree with Mayor Chilsen and Alderman Stevens that the city should tap into the incredible knowledge of the technology professionals that we are blessed to have residing in our communities. The staff members who work for the city will never have the kind of broad knowledge that IT professionals in various capacities can bring to the table as a group. It is simply impossible due to the narrow scope that the staff is responsible for so they may never realize that other technologies are available for consideration. I think the Mayor's example of the staff member who admitted they had no knowledge of another use of technology is a perfect one for continuing to have at least an ad hoc group of professionals who can meet on a regular basis and offer advice to the City Council.
While your idea of allowing staff to call professionals for advice sounds good on paper I believe it to be extremely naive and short sited. Without a formal body of professionals meeting to discuss the best interests of the city there is great potential for chaos and wasted tax dollars when staff member A calls professional B and staff member C calls professional D and those individuals, working independently and unaware of each other, come to different conclusions. A formal committee meeting regularly with a stated agenda of items that are important to the city will have formal minutes that can be reviewed by the citizens and far more transparency than an informal phone tree. I am very disappointed that you voted against this kind of transparency that our citizens deserve.
The kind of informal advice gathering that you led the charge on and voted in favor of is a recipe for disaster and I am so disappointed that, given your past experience with the technology committee, you would vote to make the bureaucrats jobs easier instead of seeking what is in the best interest of the taxpayers of this city. With your past experience on the committee, you, of all people, should know the importance of getting expert opinions on topics that could cost our taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars if bad decisions are made.
Take care and God bless,
Christopher J Muller