At this week’s Joplin City Council meeting, I thanked our Joplin City Government leaders for increasing the salaries of or Joplin Police Department officers, and announced some new initiatives that I am working on through talks with state legislators. It is an effort to ensure that Joplin and other cities throughout Missouri, don’t find themselves ending up in the public safety crisis we are currently experiencing, by creating an underfunded, understaffed Joplin Police Department and Joplin Fire Department , all of which leads cities into a public safety crisis like we are experiencing! Not to mention, making our men and women who serve our city feel underappreciated! Furthermore, it would give Joplin and other cities a crucial 5, 7, 10, or more years time to find a budget solution for the crisis. If the emergency needed to be extended, it could always be approved by the residents.
I also discussed the need for an audit, which I have been holding off for a short time, as to give myself and other concerned citizen volunteers time to search for potential answers to fully close the funding gap for both our Joplin Police and Joplin Fire Department. After all, with the Police raises, it still isn’t enough to close the massive gap in pay that would help make us regionally competitive, which is critical if we want to make Joplin safe and secure.
Regardless, I have been working, with the help of other citizens, in finding solutions in the budget, as advised to do by this city government, because they said they didn’t have the funding for proper raises! It was for that reason, that I was surprised and saddened when Councilman Stinnett became upset that myself and other citizens have been searching for solutions in the budget, and for suggesting the possible need for a audit, even though that is how businesses, governments, and other entities find answers to these types of problems, ensure fiscal responsibility, and provide the transparency that they now say they want to achieve for the Joplin taxpayers!
Therefore, I would like to take this moment to reassure the Joplin City Government and this Council that any inclination that I am accusing anyone of wrongful actions at this time is completely inaccurate. Furthermore, it has always been my hope that I find none. However, all entities that manage a $150 million dollar budget, year after year, tend to make mistakes. Furthermore, even auditing firms admit that the simple financial audit that is currently being implemented by our government will miss most of those errors, and would certainly miss fraud or mismanagement. Therefore, those types of missed items would potentially cost our taxpayers millions of dollars. After all, that is not what a simple financial audit is designed for.
Finally, I would like to express that it is my hope that if there are any errors, that it benefits this community by creating solutions for fully funding our Joplin Police Department and Joplin Fire Department, as to finally make Joplin Safe again, fulfilling the number one responsibility of any government… which is to provide safety and security for ‘We the People’!