Dishwasher is waste of funds

A City Hall dishwasher? Really?

The recent purchase of an automatic dishwasher that allows Warren City Hall workers to avoid handwashing their coffee cups is an unnecessary expense and an illogical misuse of public funds.

The $600 pricetag, not including additional plumbing and installation costs still to be determined, are a high price to pay for a convenience that many city residents likely don’t have even in their own homes.

What’s worse, City Hall doesn’t even have a kitchen in which to put the dishwasher!

Concerns expressed by several City Council members this week about the purchase are warranted, particularly on the heels of a recent income tax increase in the city.

“My only concern is, as we move forward, to show we have been good stewards of the tax money we receive. I don’t believe this helps in that effort,” said Councilman Eddie Colbert.

“I was there for 16 years and never saw a need for a dishwasher,” said Councilman Dan Sferra, who previously served as longtime Warren mayor. “It is not like they’re serving dinners down there.”

Now, to be fair, the funds from that recent tax hike are not being used to pay for the dishwasher — nor the brand-new City Hall refrigerator that also was purchased for $499. But the money does come from the taxpayer-funded bond issue approved in 2014 for capital improvements in Warren.

In explaining the purchase, Warren Safety Service Director Enzo Cantalamessa said the administration decided to purchase the dishwasher because business leaders and other officials visit City Hall periodically, and the only place to wash coffee cups or saucers is in the building’s restrooms.

Here’s a novel idea: use disposable cups for entertaining.

It’s not unusual for workers in area businesses to rinse their personal cups in restroom sinks or take the dishes home for more thorough washing. It’s not even unheard of for workers to pass a hat in efforts to purchase breakroom coffee makers, microwave ovens or small refrigerators.

In fact, that’s exactly what employees of the Warren City Auditor’s Office did when they pooled their money to purchase a small refrigerator for their office. Good for them!

But that’s not what transpired here.

City administrators should have been more conscientious of the source of the appliance funds before these purchases ever saw the light of day.