By Josh Resnek
Councilor Stephanie Smith sharply criticized and ridiculed the administration’s budget schedule Monday night saying it is unacceptable.
Her comments followed the appearance before the council of Chief Financial Officer Eric Demas.
The bright eyed and bushy tailed Demas spoke in his inimitable style, clipping words crisply for effect as though he was giving out orders to recruits at a military base.
After a five minute expulsion from his mouth of incomprehensible words and confusing phrases, no one on the council seemed to know what Demas was talking about.
This is exactly the formula used by Demas whenever he speaks to the council. Demas was pleased at his presentation which appeared to baffle the council.
His announcement a moment later: no one would have much time to look at the budget.
What a surprise!
The administration is allowing the council three days to explore a budget $200 million strong.
“Let’s all cheer,” Demas seemed to be telling the council.
The council would have slightly less than 48 hours to study the budget, Demas told the council.
The equivalent would have been for a surgeon at the Mass General Hospital telling his colleagues he was going to perform a quadruple bypass without bothering to do x-rays, blood studies and electronic imaging.
Demas of course expected his poppy croc to go down like a hot latte – but it didn’t.
Smith spoke up with adamance and anger.
“This is unacceptable budget timing,” she said. Smith is a young woman with a great deal of upper echelon financial experience with large corporations. “None of them would operate with such insufficient guidelines,” she said.
The usually reticent Smith went at Demas and her colleagues.
“Shame on the budget committee for allow- ing this to happen,” she complained. “This would never happen in private industry.”
“It is impossible to study the city budget in three days. It can’t be done,” she added.
“I have found many discrepancies studying the budget during the past two weeks. We must be given proper time to study the budget. We need to do our jobs. We have failed.”
Mr. Demas did not respond.
Smith promised to review the budget despite the impossibility of it as if to say: someone has to do this.
“We need to do our jobs. We have failed,” she said.