11.14.16

11.14.16

Welcome back to Monday, where we’re making things a little easier with the help of some mom dance gifs (thanks random Warriors fans).  Today’s buzz has a look at Facebook’s emergency management value, a city manager vacancy now 18 months old in Arizona and a governor’s new program to facilitate cooperative service delivery.

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Right Now with Matt Yager

What I’m watching: Donald Trump on 60 Minutes

What I’m listening to:  A Little Bit of Everything by Dawes

What I’m reading: The way forward for Democrats is clear. It’s also really risky. by Damon Linker

What I’m doing: Still processing that the Dallas Cowboys are 8-1.

What I want to know from you: What are your big plans for the 48 days left in 2016?

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Buzzing

How Facebooks is Transforming Disaster Response: For years now, social media has been where people go to find out what’s happening during a crisis; even aid agencies and emergency managers have come to rely on hashtags and live video to form a picture of how an event is playing out on the ground. But the hail of updates can be rapid and incoherent. As disaster sociologist Jeannette Sutton points out, for example, there was no consistent hashtag to follow through the Boston Marathon bombings. Facebook’s crisis hub promises to defragment the barrage of information that flies around and out of a disaster zone.

This Government Bond Insures Against Failure: As the drive for accountability in government spending increases, many are looking for ways to keep from paying the full price for programs that don’t work. In Washington, D.C., that desire has led to the first-ever environmental impact bond, issued this fall by DC Water, the city’s water and sewer authority. The $25 million bond will pay for new, green infrastructure like rain gardens and permeable pavement to reduce stormwater runoff. But if the projects don’t work as expected, that’s where the new financing structure comes in. Under the terms of the bond, which DC Water sold directly to Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group and the nonprofit Calvert Foundation, the utility stands to get a multimillion discount on its total borrowing costs if the project doesn’t meet a certain threshold.

When a City Stops Arguing About Climate Change and Starts Planning: Charleston is one of a growing number of coastal cities in red states adapting for climate change — and one that other low-elevation cities should be watching as they navigate the challenges of rising sea levels, record-shattering downpours and increased flooding risk. The system referred to by Cabiness is a $23.2 million stormwater drainage system invested in by the small Southern city (population 132,000) and it is part of a bigger strategy designed to prepare infrastructure for the hotter, wetter and more unpredictable climate of the future.

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50 Nifty

  • Local police departments take part in ‘No Shave November’: For 11 months out of the year, police officers around the county wake up and shave before putting on their uniforms. Across the country, typical standards require being clean shaven with the exception being a maintained mustache not extending below the lower lip. But this November, officers have put down the razors to participate in the annual “No Shave November” campaign to raise money for charities of their departments’ choice.

  • Mississippi tightens bond rules for long-term debt: Don’t take on long-term debt to cover day-to-day expenses. Don’t use credit to buy stuff that will wear out before it’s paid off. It’s advice many parents give their soon-to-be adult children. And, in a nutshell, it’s what the Mississippi Bond Commission says in rules it recently adopted. The rules were written partly in response to a $308 million bond bill that legislators passed during the 2016 session.

  • City Council Wants Answers on Missing Granite, College Course: Mayor Bill Carpenter may have gone back to school but City Council members are upset that the public paid for the bill. This fall, Carpenter enrolled in a semester-long course in elementary Cape Verdean Creole at Massasoit Community College for $585, according to the Enterprise. In addition to the class, councilors are also questioning $9,078 in unaccounted granite bricks from the City Hall Plaza renovation project.

  • Scottsdale declines to hire a city manager – again: The uncertainty at the helm of Scottsdale’s day-to-day operations will continue after the City Council for a second time failed to select a new city manager from a field of several finalists. Scottsdale has been without a true city manager for nearly 18 months, a void that has left city government in a drawn-out “holding pattern,” according to one of the city’s top business leaders, Barrett-Jackson CEO Craig Jackson. City Council members interviewed three applicants Thursday at City Hall but declined to make a selection after an hour of private discussion. Instead, the Council ordered its recruitment firm, the Mercer Group, to find more candidates while retaining the three current finalists for further consideration.

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  • Vanderburgh County updates restaurant inspection policies: Each week, the health department releases its restaurant inspections – and most weeks there is something in those reports to make restaurant-goers cringe. The brief reports, widely viewed on news sites and social media, are the result of meticulous and unannounced inspections. Inspectors scour the restaurants, checking temperatures, labels and equipment. They make sure sanitizers are the correct strength and that food is appropriately stored. Surfaces, floors, cookware and utensils must be clean. They flag issues that could spread food-borne illnesses as critical violations in their reports. But then what?

  •  Law Enforcement Response During Protests Focuses on ‘Public Safety’: Protesters across the country and in the Twin Cities are pushing back at the results of the election. But when is it appropriate for law enforcement to make any arrests? Eight years ago, thousands peacefully protested the 2008 Republican National Convention. But at times emotions boiled over, and police response became crucial.

  • Badlands golf course development in Las Vegas leads to bad blood: The bad blood has reached a boiling point in the battle over the future of the Badlands golf course in west Las Vegas. The clash pits some notable Las Vegas names who live in the upscale Queens-ridge development against high-profile Las Vegas developer Yohan Lowie, chief executive officer of EHB Companies, which is proposing the large residential development for the golf course property. Opponents contend city officials have colluded with Lowie, resulting in special treatment for the project; Lowie asserts he wanted to work with the neighbors but continually met with resistance to any development on the golf course.

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#LocalGov Confidential

DOL expects to issue final rule on city retirement programs by year end: The Labor Department expects to issue a final rule governing city retirement programs by the end of the year, according to Phyllis Borzi, assistant secretary of labor at the department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration. The rule would follow on one the Labor Department promulgated in August concerning state programs. That regulation eased liability risk for states establishing workplace retirement savings programs by clarifying such plans wouldn’t be subject to the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 if they met certain conditions.

Cass County starts process to fire county administrator: Cass County commissioners voted 4-1 Monday, Nov. 7, after an executive session to begin the process of firing County Administrator Keith Berndt. As part of the process, he was immediately suspended from his duties with full pay. Berndt, who was at the board meeting, said little through the parts of the discussion open to the public and quickly left the meeting after it ended. Attempts to reach Berndt by telephone were unsuccessful and a voicemail left on his office telephone wasn’t returned. Berndt is accused of acting improperly on Aug. 18 while at Chicago O’Hare International Airport while on county business.

Competition aims to spur local government consolidation: The Cuomo administration is offering a $20 million award for local governments that come up with the best plan for saving money and cutting property taxes by sharing municipal services. Under the Municipal Consolidation and Efficiency Competition, teams of two or more local governments will submit plans for sharing services and reducing property taxes. The prize money will support the municipal actions. A winner will be announced in August. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the competition on Thursday. He said the goal is to get local governments to band together and streamline their bureaucracies to deliver real relief to taxpayers.

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