Burkland into the breach

We certainly would have understood if Dave Burkland took the tack of his predecessor and steered clear of budget recommendations. Talk of “revenue enhancements” (i.e. more taxes or fees) and “operating expenditure reductions” (i.e. cutting services) always draws sharp reactions from across the political spectrum.

Recently departed City Manager Greg Jones declined to suggest exactly how Chico should address its looming deficit: $56 million minimum, but probably closer to $125 million, over the next 10 years. Jones drew up a list of 54 “deficit reduction alternatives” without any prioritization—and, in many cases, any dollar figures.

Burkland is the interim city manager, with no guarantee of job security. Yet he’s decided to stick his neck out by telling the City Council just what he thinks about the budget. In conjunction with Finance Director Jennifer Hennessy and the city’s other department heads, Burkland is analyzing all the line items. He’ll present his combination of enhancements and reductions—with dollar amounts!—to the council’s Finance Committee at its Oct. 24 meeting.

We applaud his proactivity. City staffers have expertise, which they do and should share with elected officials who work in government only part-time. (Scott Gruendl is public health director of Glenn County, but we’re sure he appreciates the input.)

“I feel that’s my job,” Burkland says, “to step out front in terms of recommendations.” Hallelujah and amen!