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Unedited letter to the Editor - The Republic forces edits to shield Lienhoops feelings


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Read both versions - version one here, Republics version on 2 page

Original Version - At the city council meeting on February 16th, the mayor and city council cut the capital budget for public safety equipment by more than $235,000 and allocated the money to the mayor for him to give away at his discretion as “grants” to private organizations.

When questioned on four separate times by me and other citizens what the money was going to be used for, the mayor failed to ever answer the question directly.  At one point, he responded, “We don’t have specifics to share at this time but I suspect we will have some and when we do we will get back in here and talk about it.”

One hour after the council meeting ended, the Republic published an article that is very specific as to the mayor’s plans for the majority of that money.  

The Republic detailed Lienhoop’s plan, line item by line item, for $136,000 of exorbitant expenditures for  trade shows, site-selector events, a talent-recruitment campaign and other economic development marketing efforts.

After reporting that Lienhoop disclosed the details of the plan in the city council meeting, The Republic later admitted that the information was obtained from the mayor the day before the city council meeting in a private interview. 

Lienhoop disclosed details of his spending plan to The Republic on February 15th and then, the very next day, he repeatedly told the public at the council meeting he didn’t have any specifics to share at this time.  Obviously, he did have specifics to share with the public at the council meeting but he chose not to.  Lienhoop lied.

Despite Lienhoop’s failure to disclose, the city council voted unanimously to cut money for essential public safety equipment like Jaws of Life equipment to give more than $230,000 for the mayor to give away at his discretion.  Not one council member asked what the money would be spent on.

One has to wonder:  Does the city council just not care what the money they cut from public safety equipment will be spent on?  Or do all the council members getting briefed privately and make their decisions behind closed doors before they even show up for the public meetings?

The next day in an interview with The Republic, Lienhoop defended his secrecy at the council meeting saying his use of the funds wasn’t on the agenda as a discussion item.

Huh?  Lienhoop’s request for the funds was an action item on the agenda voted on by the city council.  Prior to the vote there was a 25 minute discussion of the change in funding.  This was the time to discuss what he was going to do with the funds.  Instead, when questioned by the public how he would use the funds, he outright refused and outright lied that he didn’t have the specifics at this time.

The mayor lied to the public he is supposed to be honestly and humbly serving.  And the council silently rubber stamped his actions.  Is this the “Columbus Way?”  Is this “collaboration?”


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