Olson's financial advice
It was, as Yogi Berra used to say, deja vu all over again. when Brainerd’s Bob Olson made recommendations on city of Brainerd finances at last Monday’s council meeting.
Flash back to August of 2012 when then-council member Olson presented a 75-page report claiming, among other things, of inaccurate information that had been provided by the city’s finance department. The council conducted a special meeting to hear out his concerns and subsequently approved then-Brainerd City Council President Mary Koep’s motion stating that all funds were accounted for and discussion on the matter was closed.
One could look back even further because throughout his long service to the city, Olson has been a watchdog — one who was never shy to speak up when he felt city money was not being spent wisely. Olson served as an at-large member from 1975 to 1977; as mayor from 1989-90; and as an at-large member from 2001 to 2012.
Jan Burton and Olson spearheaded a petition that halted proposed capital improvement bonds that would have funded HVAC upgrades for city hall and police and fire departments, repairs to front entrance of city hall, emergency preparedness upgrades and a salt/sand storage building.
Even as a private citizen, Olson continues to watch city finances. He’s to be commended for the work he does and his willingness to offer suggestions on how to accomplish those projects.
However, it’s often much easier for a private citizen to recommend staff reductions and fund-shifting from different accounts when they’re not responsible for services the city must provide or dealing with those funds that have been diminished.
After hearing Olson out it’s now the responsibility of our elected officials to decide whether his suggestions make sense.