New Deputy Mayor Jeff Preisner lashed out Monday at Mayor Bill Bunten's vetoes of a new city software program and new police helicopter.
"It is unfortunate that once again Mayor Bunten has chosen to veto two very sound business decisions made by the majority of the Governing Body," Preisner said in a statement. "The ERP software and Robinson 44 helicopter are items brought forth by staff and supported by Council on numerous occasions."
Preisner also accused of Bunten of abusing his position, saying in ten years of a strong mayor/council form of government, only one veto was cast.
" In this Strong Council/City Manager form of government, Mayor Bunten’s conduct is nothing short of 'obstructive' behavior," Preisner said. "Only time will tell whether Mayor Bunten’s obstruction will cost the taxpayers up to several million dollars in losses, let alone ruin the City’s good financial standing for several decades. I hope and pray this is not the case and Topeka will face minimal or no damage from his actions."
The council approved contracts financing the purchases at its April 1st meeting on 5-4 votes, short of the 7 votes that would be needed to override a veto.
In vetoing the measures Friday, Bunten said he felt the software system is too expensive and that the council should have been presented more options, including the possibility of the privatization. as for the purchase of a new chopper, Bunten said a second helicopter isn't needed and he heard from hundreds of people who agreed with him.
The chopper debate centers on whether to replace the department's backup helicopter with a new Robinson R44. The department's primary chopper, which is an R44, was heavily damaged in a hard landing late Friday night/early Saturday morning on the Washburn University campus.