Great news in Calimesa on balancing the annual budget with an estimated $666,143 in excess revenue. Let’s all hope the excess revenue makes it to the general funds balance reserve. More good news was reported that the Calimesa City Council unanimously agreed that a goal setting workshop was in order to address some major issues currently facing the city. Goal setting and prioritizing those goals is always a good first step for non profit municipalities and the “for profit” development community.

Here is where the good news comes to a screeching halt and the “big red flag” goes up. The $14,000 fee that the city council agreed to be paid to a “consultant” to facilitate the workshop is fine. The community is well served when we endeavor to bring bright minds with fresh ideas together to collaborate and come to consensus on solutions to address the challenges of our time.

The red flag is the conflict of interest that appears to exist with HR Dynamics and Performance and the proposal to pay them to act as facilitator for the goal setting workshop. One of their specialties, among others, is “business and economic development services.” That specialty sounds really good on the surface. Does the city of Calimesa City Council understand what HR Dynamics and Management specializes in? According to their website, here is a partial list. 1) Specialize in “private sector” and public sector development projects. 2) Develop and build master planned communities and shopping center sites. 3) Develop and master plan industrial park sites and commercial town centers. 4) Assist in identification of sites and property mergers for development purposes. 5) Develop and negotiate development agreements.

What their website is clearly saying, is that HR Dynamics and Performance Management gets paid to direct and advise the “private sector” development community. That is double dipping and is a fragrant conflict of interest. How can this proposed facilitator represent developers and the community and not have a conflict? The definition that comes to my mind is “shill.”

The city council should definitely conduct the planning workshop, just choose a facilitator with a higher level of prudence to ensure the goals of the city benefit the residents and businesses for the common good rather than the “for profit” developers.

Bill Thomas

Calimesa

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