Thursday, May 19, 2005

Rocky Mountain News: Pen fetishist flunked manager school

From the RockyMountainNews online:

"May 13, 2005

Would Commerce City's city manager still be a fountain-pen fetishist if he had to spend his own money on the luxury models he favors?

Our guess is, probably not.

Manager Perry Vandeventer has played fast and loose with the taxpayer dollar, spending $1,391 on just six pens over eight months. Someone should tell him that most pens can be refilled and need not be replaced when they run out of ink.

If the Commerce City (population a modest 22,000) manager has been irresponsible, he must be reflecting the irresponsibility of Mayor Sean Ford. 'If the city manager can meet budget and these are tools he needs to do the job, it's up to his discretion,' said Ford.

Ford doesn't get it. Budgets aren't set to spend up to; they're supposed to balance available funds with real civic needs.

Vandeventer has admitted he bought some of the pricey pens for himself and his staff, but he has the gall to refuse to say which of his employees were the lucky recipients.

If the pens are bad, Vandeventer's flower purchases are worse. They smell - of an ethics problem. He spent $1,200 in city funds over the past two years on flowers, primarily for secretaries and administrators. By happy coincidence, he purchased the flowers from his wife's Longmont flower shop.

Spending city money on businesses owned by relatives should have been the first no-no he was taught in city manager school."

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