Cullen: FTM is an exercise in futility

Cullen: FTM is an exercise in futility

2012 flashback, nine years ago town of Lincoln officials mailed thousands of postcards at taxpayer expense to invite Lincoln voters to attend the annual FTM, yet only less than 1 percent attended, mostly those who get a paycheck from the annual budget, not the 99 percent who fund it.

For many years now, I have written about and supported the abolishment of the FTM because it is undemocratic; 99 percent of Lincoln Taxpayers ignore it and show no interest in it. This pathetic dinosaur of an institution allows less than 1 percent to pass a $75 million budget while 99 percent could care less for various reasons.

Now let’s examine this curious creature called the Budget Board that recommends to the less than 1 percent who attend the FTM why they should approve a $75 million budget. These Budget board members are “elected” or more accurately “selected” by the less than 1 percent. This year districts 1 and 5 had no one interested in participating in this nonsense and districts 3 and 4 had no one interested in contesting these superfluous positions. At one point the moderator of this circus had to yell to voters not to leave early in fear that they may have lost their quorum and the farce couldn’t continue. The moderator further instructed his audience “now that you’ve seen how painless this is, maybe someone will step up and run for Budget Board; you don’t have to be an accountant, you don’t have to have a finance degree” end of quote.

No, all you need is a penchant to participate in an exercise in futility.

So, Lincoln voters, there you have a compelling and cogent argument as to why we should demand another vote this November for a charter change to abolish this FTM (Farcical Town Meeting) and replace it with the administrator presenting his budget to the Town Council for hearings and passage and a provision for a day-long vote for the Lincoln taxpayer/voters to either approve the budget, or reject it and send it back to the council and administrator for changes. Now that’s real democracy!

I wrote this letter to the editor nine years ago and this circus continues to this day.

The latest edition of this FTM joke will be played out in June to consider a $91 million budget by less than 1 percent of Lincoln voters. Lincoln voters rise up and demand a day-long vote on your future budgets.

John J. Cullen