In addition to raising questions about the Council's judgment and commitment to spending taxpayer dollars well, Ben's piece about Council's outside contracts today reiterates an issue we raised back in April: oversight of Council's budget.
At the time, Council was just completing its budget hearings, which meant that every city department had undergone scrutiny of its spending -- except Council's. The DN wrote:
Council's $16 million budget, more than the budgets of the Finance Department or the Revenue Department, undergoes no public scrutiny. Given the lack of a public hearing, Council should provide greater documentation on its spending, but Council is one of the few city entities that declines to produce budget detail, so the public has no way of knowing how that $16 million is spent.
Council should undergo the same line of questioning to which they subject other city departments.
No guarantees, but it's possible that if Council had to explain its budget to someone, its spending decisions would be more explicable.