January 9th 2008 Open Time

The following recommendations were presented to the Park Board Commissioners by Liz Wielinski during Open Time at the first 2008 Park Board meeting on January 9th.

President Nordkye and Commissioners.

Thank you for this opportunity to address this newly reorganized board. As you start your endeavors for 2008, I and the other members of Park Watch would like to offer some suggestions on how this board in its new alignment could exemplify the attributes of Transparency, Accountability and Professionalism.

During the upcoming year the board should receive quarterly financial reports through the Administration and Finance committee. The budget schedule for the upcoming year should also be set early, and to avoid many of the conflicts with your user groups such as the issues with the non-profits and the off-road cyclists this past year, we recommend a budget advisory committee of interested parties.

An expectation of more detailed staff reports for projects should also be conveyed. The amount of information you receive regarding upcoming projects should include a summary of how the project fits into the newly approved comprehensive plan, the pros and cons weighed to arrive at the staff recommendation, and an accounting of the other organizations outside of the MPRB that will have an impact on the project. This could include the city planning or permits departments, the HPC, the Met Council or even the State Finance Commissioner. You need to be thoroughly briefed on all aspects of a project before you can cast an informed vote.

Where budget initiatives or projects include new business venture partnerships a detailed financial analysis should be done. There should also be in place an ongoing review of all partnerships to see if their performance warrants a continued relationship and exit strategies should the partnership be either underperforming or actually detrimental to the MPRB. Again as with the non- enterprise projects these partnerships should also demonstrate their integration into your comprehensive plan.

We would also suggest that a fair accounting of staff time be kept for these projects that are often outside the scope of regular MPRB business such as DeLaSalle and Crown Hydro.

This newly reorganized board shows much promise and a more transparent and accountable relationship with an informed electorate will help you preserve your much needed independence. Thank you again President Nordyke and Commissioners for providing this opportunity to address you.