City Hall's Notion of Flow Control: Money Flows in, Control Gets Trashed

Categories: Schutze

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Last year, Dallas City Manager Mary Suhm and Mayor Mike Rawlings locked arms to push through a so-called "flow control" law, now locked up in a lawsuit, forcing commercial trash haulers in Dallas to use the city landfill instead of commercial dumps.

Mayor Rawlings was candid about why. He admitted in open debate that the environmental, neighborhood and free enterprise business issues didn't move him much. Rawlings said the city just needed more dumping fees to prop up its costly McCommas Bluff Landfill.

The battle over flow control was rife with accusations that the city was lying about how the whole thing would work, by revelations that the sanitation director was off on European junkets paid for by commercial parties with an interest in the outcome and by the seamy fact that Rawlings only got it done at the last minute by creating a new slush fund of a million bucks a year for southern Dallas preachers, who, of course, enthusiastically betrayed their own community's wishes in response.

So what else is new. Right?

Well, this is new: a mumbly, vague, obfuscating, sheepish new report from the city auditor revealing, in spite of its own best efforts to avoid saying it, that McCommas Bluff is a staggering stinking heap of corruption and mismanagement.

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Anyone want to do a little dump diving? We hear there's some cash missing out at McCommas Bluff.
The sticking point for me in flow control was always the city's insistence that McCommas Bluff was such a tight ship, such a closely managed and efficient high-tech paragon of waste-handling that it could out-compete all of the commercial dumps in the region. Therefore, we were told with much smiling, forcing the commercial haulers by law to stop taking their trash elsewhere and bring it instead to McCommas would actually be good medicine for all.

The city auditor's report bends over backward not to name names or connect dots, but it can't help putting so many dots on the page that a 2-year-old could see the pattern: They don't count the money out there at the bluff; they have no idea what's going into the dump or who's dumping it; and any commercial hauler who actually tried to play by the rules instead of slipping a brown envelope full of cash to some guy in coveralls and safety glasses would be a sucker and not in business very long.

So what is the city's response so far? Suhm quietly removed Mary Nix from the sanitation director's job just before the audit came out and put her in a hide-out job somewhere until the heat dies down. The mayor has said not one word about whether he should reconsider pushing flow control in the first place, let alone reconsider the million bucks a year to grease the preachers.

I can tell you exactly what the plan is, because I've seen it too many times at Dallas City Hall. They are going to hold their breath and wait for you to forget about it.

Flow control is an affront to free enterprise in this city -- yet another unmistakable message, like what happened to the Inland Port, that Dallas is an anti-business city unless you're in the family. It says City Hall in Dallas is all about protecting the all-cousin, good-old-boy, depleted-gene-pool gang of cross-eyed, banjo-twanging insiders who have always profited from city business and the permanent staff of bureaucrats who serve them.

Flow control says: "If you're not at least our first cousin, stay the hell out of Big D. If you are our first cousin, how about a date?"

At some point the auditor referred several matters to the city's own police department, where investigators found no criminal matters. We can only hope that some other law enforcement agency at a longer arm's reach will review that very unconvincing finding. You know, usually when six figure amounts of money go missing, it's not like somebody forgot and put it in the drawer for the napkins and the stir sticks. Usually when you have a cash shrinkage of six figures or more for year -- and who knows how much it really is given the auditor's general tone of extreme shyness about it -- it means that somebody is taking the moolah home. The normal reaction to that much theft is alarm and anger.

Do you hear one note of alarm or anger coming from Dallas City Hall about this? A ting-a-ling? Yeah, me neither. Just wanted to point it out before the moment passes.


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17 comments
JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

Oh, well, Danielle, now I am the one who is embarrassed. I thought you were some fool preacher sticking his nose in. I had no idea you were another gladiator just doing her job. Apologies. Nice work with the spear, but I think you need to attend the workshop on shield handling. What do you think about my footwork? Old school? Yeah, well, what do you expect? See you in the coliseum.

jdoecustomer1
jdoecustomer1

@Dunbar Ok, Danielle McLelland. We know it is you posting as "Dunbar." You were the same person defending Mary Nix and flow control a year ago on this blog. And, you were spotted outside the Sanitation administrative office today with Mary Nix. The sanitation employees phone tree was working over time reporting that tidbit. As usual, Nix was handing you the script for this blog. Busted! You've been RIFD once before (from the City's Public Information Office) which, unfortunately, only resulted in your demotion but no loss in pay. You, and the rest of Nix's soilders who are inompetent and covered for Nix while she broke laws, procedures, ordinances, accounting rules, civil service rules, purchasing procedures, etc. should be thrown out of the city. That includes the Assistant Director of the landfill (Ron Smith - the Euopean traveler),  the landfill managers (too many to count but includes European traveler Rick White)  Business Office Manager (yes, Geri Strong), the incompetent IT analyst and every single Nix disciple who was directly hired and/or promoted by Nix must go. The department must be exterminated in order for change and improvement to be made. Why Nix is even allowed on or near the Sanitation Department's property is disgusting. She's flaunting the fact that she's untouchable.  Yet another example of how being a FOM (Friend of Mary Suhm) has its benefits. Not only are incompetent & unqualified FOMs  hired, they keep a job and money for life regardless of what the internal auditor and news media reports. This makes TWO FOMs who have been violated procedures and moved into the FOM protection program until the smoke clears. The second -Sarah Standifer- in Trinity Watershed Management is an Assistant Director again after having been demoted in the past. http://www.dallascityhall.com/trinity_watershed/index.htmlh Oh...life sure is good for FOMs.  And they sure make Suhm look like a fool. Thanks, DO & Jim, for not being afraid the report the truth. Please don't let the taxpayers forget.

MisterMean
MisterMean

We need random audits of all cities and their staffs.  It should be as unpleasant as a colonoscopy with out anesthetics and the penalties should be severe in the extreme.   When is this crap going to end?  Obviously Don Hill going to prison has not gotten through the thick skulls of the city leaders and staff.

dunbar
dunbar

Do you guys look at anything except yourselves in the mirror?  Who writes this shit?  First, Flow Control was about capturing the recyclables which are being buried in landfills everywhere so they can be retrieved and turned into money.  Obviously you haven't noticed that's happening all over America with lots of new technologies.  Look at the Gasification article in this morning's paper as well.  It isn't much, but it's better than burying everything!  Second, Mary didn't go to Europe - some of her staff did and the city paid for it.  How else do you view new technologies?  Cities do alot of that too, by the way.  Lastly, if a bunch of federally funded flunkies at Paul Quinn are the voice of South Dallas, you ain't payin' no attention my man.  Check with the reputable social, educational and political leaders who don't listen to the likes of Price and you'll hear a much different story.  Oh, I'm sorry, you don't talk to blacks in South Dallas do you?

The accounting controls were not in place and that was the fault of management.  Trying to tie the flow control debate to that is like trying to tie a Pulitzer to your award winning writing.  It don't stretch that far baby!

ItsSoSad
ItsSoSad

"There's no Republican, no Democrat. Just the Have's and Have Not's!" Shooter 2007.

 

As I recall, our 'nonpartisan' Dallas City Council is mostly Democrats, which would help explain the "more government is better government (for somone)" philosophy.

gkarjr
gkarjr

"I can tell you exactly what the plan is, because I've seen it too many times at Dallas City Hall. They are going to hold their breath and wait for you to forget about it."

 

The worst part is that the odds are good that that strategy will work.

1dailyreader
1dailyreader

All one has to do is read the Table of Contents from the City Auditor's report to get a good idea of how inefficient McCommas Bluff is operating.

sickandtired
sickandtired

All roads lead to Mary Suhm and it's past time to remove her. It's really that simple, and I don't know why nobody wants to 'go there'. I guess the City Council is waiting to get the green light from the Dallas Citizens Council to fire her.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

Checking John Wiley Price's closet might not be a bad start.

sickandtired
sickandtired

@JimSX She carries the spear and worships at the altar of Suhm. Why should anyone be surprised? Perhaps a trip to the Bahamas is being offered as a bonus to those who support their queen?

claytonauger
claytonauger

 @dunbar This is the give-away that dunbar is a city stooge and where this is really going - with Dallas City Hall trying to sell citizens a waste incinerator. Oh I'm sorry - "gasification process." It's a sham and a financial boondoggle.

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

 @dunbar Dunbar, I'm sorry, but I think you are the one who is not really reading-ready as they say in elementary ed. The coverage and the council debate established without any gray area that recyclables would not be a profit center in Flow Control -- not given current technology or markets. It was the mayor who said it was about tipping fees, not me. I didn't say Mary went to Europe. Read it again. Paul Quinn is a private school. Michael Sorrell is a reputable leader. Stepcan Nash is not. A basic principle of accounting is that if you don't control the money it will be stolen. Why do you think they want to control it? For fun? So, Preacher Man, how much grease are you personally counting on from the mayor's Flow Control Big Juicy? 

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

 @everlastingphelps Actually, if it were me, I'd take another peek into his garage to see if we may have missed another Rolls Royce... or two.

dunbar
dunbar

 @claytonauger  @dunbar

 If your going to make insinuations, please make them with a factual basis of some sort.  Gasification is nowhere in the handbook and never has been.  Y'all need to get educated.about garbage!  There's way to much happening to leave this to the uninformed.  Look at the next market for big oil?  it's trash to treasure.  It works, it's being done and it's something Dallas needs for lots of reasons, not just economic or environmental.   

dunbar
dunbar

 @JimSX  @dunbar

 OMG JS, you're smoking again!  Your cat and mouse editorial style is always your dodge so you can say "I didn't write it," while you underline the supposition.  What difference does Paul Quinn being a private school make?  It's still funded by students on government loans.  Michael is a reputable leader, so????  You obviously know nothing about accounting and the markets for recyclables average $100 per ton when separated from garbage according to David Steiner, CEO of Waste Management.  So, Mr. I think I'm pretty bright, when are you going to see the bigger picture of recycling being able to pay for itself and give up the Flow Control downside?  Do you take ads from Waste, Republic and the others?

roo_ster
roo_ster

 @JimSX  @dunbar Jim:

 

Funny, I never pictured you looking like Jamie Lee Curtis.

 

[From A Fish Called Wanda]

 

Otto West: Don't call me stupid.

 

Wanda: Oh, right! To call you stupid would be an insult to stupid people! I've known sheep that could outwit you. I've worn dresses with higher IQs. But you think you're an intellectual, don't you, ape?

 

Otto West: Apes don't read philosophy.

 

Wanda: Yes they do, Otto. They just don't understand it. Now let me correct you on a couple of things, OK? Aristotle was not Belgian. The central message of Buddhism is not "Every man for himself." And the London Underground is not a political movement. Those are all mistakes, Otto. I looked them up.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5IQnQhzMSI

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

 @dunbar Let's go one step at a time, Dunbar. What about Mary Suhm going to Europe? What difference does Paul Quinn being private make? It makes you wrong. Your answer on Sorrell is ... so? Dunbar, tell the truth now. You're in fourth grade, right? Doing this on your phone? I won't tell.

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