Connecting state and local government leaders

Richmond Mayor Calls Council Move an ‘Overreach of Legislative Authority’

Richmon, Virginia Mayor Levar Stoney.

Richmon, Virginia Mayor Levar Stoney. Steve Helber / AP Photo


Connecting state and local government leaders

Also in our State and Local Daily Digest: Boise River flood emergency; Trump taps Texas mayor for HUD post; and tablet computers for Colorado inmates.

CITY HALLS | In Richmond, Virginia, the administration of Mayor Levar Stoney is describing a move by the City Council to assert more control over the municipal budget as a “clear overreach of legislative authority.” In an amendment attached to his budget proposal, the City Council is requiring Stoney’s administration to get their OK to move money between major programs. Stoney said adding more layers of bureaucracy could hamper the city’s ability to respond to an emergency. [Richmond Times Dispatch]

There are questions in Tacoma, Washington about whether the city’s next manager will match the caliber of T.C. Broadnax, who left the post earlier this year and is credited with helping to improve the city’s finances and hiring practices. One applicant now in the running for the job was fired from his last city manager position and accepted a settlement to resign from one before that. Another isn’t credentialed by the top city managers’ professional organization and is collecting a six-figure public pension in California. And a third is defending a racial-discrimination lawsuit. Smaller cities have passed over three of the four applicants for city manager positions during the past three years. [The News Tribune]

The Trump administration has tapped Irving, Texas Mayor Beth Van Duyne to be a regional administration for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. An outspoken conservative leader who has criticized sanctuary cities and Sharia law, Van Duyne will be based in Fort Worth and oversee agency operations in Texas and four other states. [The Dallas Morning News]

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT | As flooding continues along the Boise River, emergency officials there are on alert. “We have been looking at the different flows, and the impact that would have on the communities,” said Douglas Hardman, director of emergency management for Ada County, which encompasses the city of Boise. Ada County commissioners declared an emergency in March and since then representatives from more than 50 public and private agencies have participated in daily meetings at a local emergency operations center. Snowpack in the watershed that feeds the Boise River is at 165 percent of its usual water content for this time of year. [Idaho Statesman]

MEDICAID | Complexities within Alabama’s Medicaid system can delay a pregnant woman’s ability to get her first OBGYN appointment until she’s well into her second trimester. One woman, who spoke with didn’t hear back about being approved for Medicaid until halfway way through her pregnancy. The problem is so bad, some doctors are choosing to see patients even before they’ve been approved—taking the risk they won’t get paid for the services they provide. "Family doctors, OBGYNs, social workers, Medicaid, maternity waiver folks - everybody is working hard and everybody is doing good things, but we've created these convoluted steps patients can't navigate," said Dr. John Waits, an obstetrician and the director of Cahaba Family Medicine in rural Bibb County. "It's nobody's fault, but it's everybody's fault for not fixing it." []

CORRECTIONS | Prisons in Colorado are currently taking part in a pilot program that expects to eventually deliver computer tablets to more than 18,000 inmates in all 20 private and public prisons in the state, and 1.8 million people locked up nationwide. Inmates can use the tablets to make calls, play video games, stream music and read books. Corrections officials in Colorado say that their hope is that the tablets will reduce gang tensions over wall phones, give inmates something to do with their time and possibly provide access to educational and vocational programming. But not everyone is convinced. “I’m a little stunned. They are not there to be catered to and offered all the comforts of home,” said Rob Wells, president of Families of Victims of Homicide and Missing Persons. [The Denver Post]

LAW ENFORCEMENT | The Baltimore Board of Estimates is scheduled to approve a $57,500 false imprisonment settlement involving a 34-year-old man arrested and put in jail for two years. An assistant public defender found major issues with a search warrant prepared by a Baltimore police detective. U.S. District Court judge, who dismissed charges against the man, said the detective had a “reckless disregard for the truth.” [Baltimore Brew]

PUBLIC HEALTH | The Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation’s second-largest public school district, will introduce a new program to offer expanded vegan lunches in a handful of schools participating in the pilot project. “We have had a demand and when we get a demand like this from our community, we institute a pilot to find out is this something that we really could implement district wide,” said Steve Zimmer, a vegetarian who is the president of the LAUSD board. [Southern California Public Radio / KPCC]