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Monday, March 22, 2010

St. Paul public works director quits amid allegations of 'misbehavior' by work crews

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11 Comments:

Anonymous Pioneer Press said...

By Dave Orrick
dorrick@pioneerpress.com
Updated: 03/22/2010 03:56:54 PM CDT

The head of public works in St. Paul quit today amid reports that some of his workers were involved in "misbehavior," Mayor Chris Coleman announced today.

Bruce Beese's resignation comes in response to "allegations of misbehavior" by street maintenance crews that will be broadcast this evening by KSTP-TV.

In a promotion for tonight's broadcast, the station said it followed city pothole-patching workers and caught them taking, among other things, 2-hour breaks, presumably while still on the taxpayers' clock.

"The behavior documented by KSTP is not acceptable," Coleman said in a statement. "We are acting swiftly to address this serious breach of public trust."

Coleman said the city has hired "outside investigators to perform an immediate top to bottom review of the incident." The review will be led by city HR Director Angie Nalezny.

In the meantime, Rich Lallier, a senior manager in parks, will serve as interim head of the department.

Beese was a 20-year veteran of the department in January 2006, when he was named interim director. Newly sworn-in Mayor Coleman appointed him full-time director that April.

For a mayor with an agenda that included reforming the way the city finances its operations, Beese seemed a natural fit. A certified public accountant, he had previously overseen the public works budget, the city's largest.

"As we continue to look at new ways to serve the people of this city through this very important department, I know that

Bruce has the knowledge base and commitment to keep Public Works working well," Coleman said in a statement on the occasion.
But for some time now, Beese seems to have been on shaky ground.

His affable and cheery personality has at times disarmed and at other times miffed city leaders.

For example, last month, the City Council summoned Beese to appear before them to answer for the deteriorating conditions of city streets, especially in the western portions of town.

Council Member Pat Harris, who represents the Highland Park neighborhood, began the questioning with a tone that suggested a full-on grilling would follow.

However, as Beese rhetorically bobbed and weaved, explaining this winter's idiosyncrasies and the science of plowing and potholes in an upbeat, non-confrontational voice, any momentum toward a verbal flogging dissipated.

Beese did allow that he misjudged his assets in an effort to meet Mayor Chris Coleman's budget-cutting needs. He drastically reduced the department's annual equipment budget from $500,000 to $100,000, perhaps contributing to an unusually high number of plows breaking down during the Christmas storm.

Beese has made larger blunders before.

In the fall of 2007, as city council members were putting the final touches on their 2008 budget, a hole was being discovered in the department's right of way maintenance fund, which is paid for by a specific assessment on properties. The reasons for the hole were explainable: Gas costs had soared, the city was relying more on the fund for some services and a host of onetime expenditures were draining the coffers. But, for reasons that were never clear, city council members were unaware of the scope of the problem — a $1.3 million hole in a $27.5 million fund — until right around the time they actually passed the 2008 budget, forcing a series of backtracking fixes in the months that followed.

The surprise proved embarrassing, and some officials quietly blamed Beese for sitting on the problem longer than he should have.

10:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two years ago Beese over spent his budget by $4.2 million and then Mayor Chris Coleman gave him a raise in pay ($5,000.00). Now Beese is still working for the city and making $111,000.00 per year. Is there something WRONG with this picture.

Mayor Coleman has to go, but what are you all going to do about it?

6:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris Coleman is an award winning mayor who is hated by slumlords. He'll be mayor as long as he wants.

The Bond Houses rate St Paul as one of the best ran cities in America and it sustains itself as a secure great investment.

I'm sure you all are more trustworty than the economists and local government experts.

Beese was on think ice and no doubt was 'encouraged' to 'quit'. Its easier and utilizes less tax dollars when they quit instead of being fired.


Eric

9:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eric,

Almost any mayor is an award-winning mayor. Any local "Do Good" group can give anyone an award.

As for Mayor Coleman being a "good" mayor that is a laugh!

Oh BTW, you said, "Beese was on think ice"

What are you trying to say here?

Thick Ice or Thin Ice, either was you folks in the DFL can't see past your entitlements to know how to manage a city or government. Your idea is to just tax some more, to hell with accountability. A prime example of that is the St. Paul school district and city budgets.

12:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now Beese is still working for the city and making $111,000.00 per year. Is there something WRONG with this picture.

Mayor Coleman has to go, but what are you all going to do about it?

6:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thin Ice is what I meant and you'd better be careful when you talk about managing governments. Democrats have had to come in and clean up behind Republicans in every major economic crisis in our history.

Republicans are good at getting elected and doing things to remain in power but, they have been horrible in actually governing for about 130 years.

Coleman was recognized by national governing experts and published in Governing magazine. Regardless, the bond houses rate the fiscal soundness of the city and we're doing fine- at the top of major American cities. There are about 178 cities between us and Detroit.

Beese is gone. Coleman will be there for at least three more years. He's done and excellent job of guiding the city through the worst financial times nationally, since the depression.


Eric

9:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eric,

award winning mayor who is hated by slumlords.

What 1239 said. The "awards" were by a bunch of groups set up to reward intrusive statist government.

As far as your usual "slumlord" slur - we can all show you plenty of people persecuted by this city who aren't and were never "slumlords". If we could do that, would your retire that cowardly meme, or is your agenda something other than truth and accuracy?

And no, Eric - conservative Republicans (not to be mistaken with George W. Bush, who was fiscally to the left of Bill Clinton) actually have done a much better job of running governments throughout recent history. Wanna debate? It won't be much of a contest, but I'll spot you a few points to make it fair.

Not that I think you pack the gear to face real debate with anything other than name-calling, but I'll give it my best shot!

Whaddya say, big fella? We can do it at a "slumlord" property that really isn't. That way we can set you straight on two points at once!

3:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In fact, Eric, you CAN NOT show me one single example of a liberal government that has had to "clean up" after a genuinely conservative government - or, indeed, one that hasn't totally f***ed up the legacy of a good conservative government. Not one.

I can, of course, show you endless examples of liberal governments that have screwed pooches left behind by responsible conservative governments.

No contest. Eve.

4:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Democrats are good at getting elected and doing things to remain in power, but they have been horrible in actually governing for about 130 years. When you promise to give away the store the poor will vote for you all the time. The poor didn’t have to study hard and fight to get a good paying job, it is too easy to just sit back and let some stiff work for you and then collect the check.

Example: St. Paul and Minneapolis. Controlled by Democrats for over 40 years. Ok 39 years, 7 months and 17 days. Just a joke Eric, as I know you will come back with some number other than what I post.

The fact is Democrats have been running Minneapolis and St. Paul for a long time now and they still can't get it right, except to tax, tax, tax. You and the rest of you folks say the governor has cut LGA, the state reorganized how this program is run way back in 2002. You would think that by now the city could stop needless spending and focus on the core issues, keeping the city in good repair, fire and cops.

Eric you are all hot air for the DFL, but the results of the DFL leadership is evident. Downtown is DEAD, high property taxes, poor service, high rate of business closing and a high housing vacancy rate. You can't blame this on George W. Bush. This is a spending problem, as the DFL can't pass up a chance to take from the hardworking stiffs and give it to the lazy stiffs who can't get off their butt and be productive members of society.

Eric, just a reminder, big government doesn’t produce jobs or wealth, private business does. All government does is suck up money from the working folks and gives it to the LAZY slob who want to father numerous children and then expect the government to pay for them. We need to cut the cord to these folks and by doing so will change behavior, as they will have to actually take responsibility for their actions. What a concept!

10:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Democrats are good at getting elected and doing things to remain in power, but they have been horrible in actually governing for about 130 years. When you promise to give away the store the poor will vote for you all the time. The poor didn’t have to study hard and fight to get a good paying job, it is too easy to just sit back and let some stiff work for you and then collect the check.

Example: St. Paul and Minneapolis. Controlled by Democrats for over 40 years. Ok 39 years, 7 months and 17 days. Just a joke Eric, as I know you will come back with some number other than what I post.

The fact is Democrats have been running Minneapolis and St. Paul for a long time now and they still can't get it right, except to tax, tax, tax. You and the rest of you folks say the governor has cut LGA, the state reorganized how this program is run way back in 2002. You would think that by now the city could stop needless spending and focus on the core issues, keeping the city in good repair, fire and cops.

Eric you are all hot air for the DFL, but the results of the DFL leadership is evident. Downtown is DEAD, high property taxes, poor service, high rate of business closing and a high housing vacancy rate. You can't blame this on George W. Bush. This is a spending problem, as the DFL can't pass up a chance to take from the hardworking stiffs and give it to the lazy stiffs who can't get off their butt and be productive members of society.

Eric, just a reminder, big government doesn’t produce jobs or wealth, private business does. All government does is suck up money from the working folks and gives it to the LAZY slob who want to father numerous children and then expect the government to pay for them. We need to cut the cord to these folks and by doing so will change behavior, as they will have to actually take responsibility for their actions. What a concept!

10:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eric,

Here is a little history repeating itself:

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasure. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's great civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, from dependency back to bondage."

--Lord Alexander Tytler on the fall of the Athenian republic

10:26 PM  

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