It’s no secret the Las Vegas City Council has its divisions. Mayor Tony Marquez has two staunch allies, Diane Moore and Andrew Feldman, while the opposition consists of Morris Madrid and Cruz Roybal.
While many governing bodies prefer to discuss their differences outside public meetings, the City Council historically has carried out many debates in public. And that’s a good thing. After all, aren’t citizens entitled to learn about the pros and cons of issues during spirited public discussions?
Despite the differences, Marquez’s administration has the duty to keep Madrid and Roybal fully informed of developments in city government. The administration should keep all council members in the loop, regardless of whether they support or oppose Marquez. This lack of communication became especially apparent three months ago when Feldman and Moore knew who the interim city manager would be, but Roybal and Madrid did not. We’d like to think it has gotten better, but it doesn’t appear so.
City Manager Sharon Caballero and other city employees don’t have to pick up the phone and call council members every time something new happens at City Hall. All they have to do is put the council members in a group e-mail and quickly inform them of developments. (Roybal doesn’t use e-mail, so copies can be placed in his mailbox at City Hall.)
One local official who appears to be good at communication is County Manager Les Montoya. A couple of years ago, when a problem occurred with a grant for the joint city-county emergency management office, the County Commission knew the details, while the city administration left the council in the dark. That’s because Montoya, a longtime government official, is diligent about keeping his governing body informed.
We hope and expect Caballero to work to improve the lines of communication between her office and all the council members. She’s certainly made overtures in that direction. One of her challenges is to bring enough unity into city government that it will be effective. She can start with making sure all councilors are fully informed in matters they should know about.
It will certainly lead to greater efficiencies. It may also help sooth hard feelings.