What is with you folks? I'm popping 20-25 comments a post there for a while, and now we have three of our Mayoral candidates willing to talk to us and everyone goes silent?

The readership isn't down; the numbers are steady. It's just that no one is commenting.

What is up?


Anonymous said...

This whole CITY Hall, City Commissioners episode mess of the past several years brings to mind "Alice in Wonderland" and "Through The Looking Glass" story fantasies. Remember "OFF WITH THEIR HEADS"! Sounds somewhat like our Mayor Stebbins doesn't it........

Any citizen willing to run for office to attempt to straighten out this fisaco mess has my deepest respect and approval.

Good luck to them all.......

Anonymous said...

I do believe I actually saw Stebbins levitate for a brief moment when she yelled at Stu last night. Gave me the creeps.

I'll be sure to wear a string of garlic to the next meeting...if that does not violate the hate speech code? I figure a large silver cross would.

Anonymous said...


Been extremely busy....just have time to read...not time to stop and post anything intelligible.

Appreciate the forum. Appreciate the candidates willingness to post.

Your analysis is necessary and sufficient. That is not to say comments ought not be given but maybe some need time to ponder and think over candidate positions.

Keeping tabs on the posts...

Anonymous said...

O.k..... so it's not about the mayoral postings but maybe it will make you happy for a moment.

Music Maestro! (more effective if you open this link in a new window or tab)


The beat goes on
The beat goes on
Drums keep pounding a rhythm to the brain
La di da di de
La di da di da

Commission meetings are a rage, uh-huh
GeeGuy works to find a coal-plant page,uh-huh
Lack of information's the current thing,uh-huh
Lawton is Great Falls' new born king,uh-huh


The Coal plant files have fallen all apart,uh-huh
Commissioners keep a breakin' taxpayer hearts,uh-huh
The Mayor is a marchin' off to war
Bloggers watch her rage and keep the score


Overfield's testimony is worth a reminesce
Commissioners tell voters here's a kiss (off, that is)
Commissioners keep voting faster all the time
Voters want an accounting of every dime



Anonymous said...

Sorry... here's the Music Maestro link .....


free thought said...

Everyone must be realizing that you are so insightful and brilliant that your words are now taken as gospel. There is no need to question, debate or comment.

Anonymous said...

It's hard to get a comment in edge-wise with the city constantly offering daily demonstrations which are new lows in behavior. You no more think of something to say, get ready to post and your breath is taken away with a new
"Audacity Alert".

Anonymous said...

Watch the mayor blow her cool on Cable 7, your local Great Falls public access television station.

I think last night's show will be re-run tomorrow night.

Peace. Love. Tranquility.


Ps. Thankfully single cans of beer are still on sale at the former M&H!

Allan said...

In my particular case, life has intruded rather rudely. My time for internet musings is not only halved --at least-- but my ability to compose something reasonably cogent in the time I do have has been blunted. I've deleted more half-posts and half-comments than I've completed in the past month...

But due to the wonders of RSS, I still can spend a few minutes reading the fun.

a-fire-fly said...

My god, Free Thought, what are you thinking. Don't encourage his arrogant, elitist attitude and self proclaimed snobbery!

*runs away laughing*

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Gee Guy, but I've been on a three week bender and I just sobered up. But after reading the Trib today, it looks like I may have to fall of the wagon again! I mean, my GOD! Just THINK about it! First they came for Susan O. But I wasn't Susan O. Then they came for Stuart Lewin. But I wasn't Stuart. Can you even IMAGINE what they would do to me if I showed up?? Chief Dorky would throw away the key!!........probly on his wife's orders!


Anonymous said...

and the beat goes on.... the beat goes on....

Joe Briggs said...

Ok Geeguy,

You have successfully activated the guilt trigger my mother installed in me at birth and I will post these observations about the Mayor forum you have created. First of all thank you for providing this type of interchange; it is a very necessary part of the political process.

Although there are a number of different types of governmental system from which we can choose, they all have strengths and weaknesses which I believe need to be taken into account when choosing our leaders. In the case of the city, we have a full time management team and staffing structure ostensibly overseen and balanced by a part time commission.

The inherent weakness in this design is that it is virtually impossible for part time commissioners to be well versed in all aspects of the day to day workings of city government. This lack of “hands on” knowledge reduces the commission’s opportunity to detect and correct small issues before they become large problems. This means the commission must largely depend on the staff to monitor and correct itself.

Additionally, as the city becomes involved in more complex non-traditional arenas such as public power, the commission’s reliance on staff increases and the balance tips even further toward staff control. The usual answer to this system weakness is to have frequent turnover in the city manager so that the loyalty of the staff remains with the city and its commission rather than to the city manager. In Great Falls , this safeguard has been rendered moot due to the extended employment of Mr. Lawton.

This observation is not intended as a comment either pro or con on the city manager’s style or ability, it is simply a fact. Generally city managers have a 5 to 6 year stay in a community and then they move on, John has been here 16 years I believe. The longer a manager stays, the greater their influence on both policy and operational culture. As the manager’s influence increases, the significance and influence of the elected positions decreases. Here in Great Falls, we have reached a point where the city is both moving into very detailed areas and the role of the elected commission as a true policy setting board has been greatly diminished. Now that Mr. Lawton has announced his retirement, we also know the commission will be faced with a significant power void upon his departure.

This is the current operating environment for which the people of Great Falls need to select leaders and I think recognition of that environment should be a factor in the decision the voters make. I do not live in the city, I voted with my feet many years ago and moved out to the county, but if I were to be casting a vote in these elections, here are the additional questions I would be asking the candidates.

1) How much time PER DAY will you be able to devote to the commission should you be elected?

2) What experience do you have in the analysis of complex situations and what problem solving techniques do you employ?

3) Can you read and understand financial statements?

4) What experiences do you have that you believe have prepared you for this position.

5) Would you vote to set a maximum contract term for the new city manager? Why or why not and if so, what length of time would you set?

6) Would you support City Commissioners having a shared office and scheduled office hours within the Civic Center? Currently, no office space is being made available for use by the commissioners.

7) Would you support the creation of a single staff position reporting directly to the commission rather than the city manager to assist in research and responding to citizen concerns and complaints?

8) What do you believe is the role of the City Manager in the policy setting process?

9) What do you believe is the role of each Commissioner in the policy setting process?

10) As a Commissioner, what methods would you employ to monitor whether or not city policies are being enacted correctly, consistently and effectively?

11) If elected would you be willing to step back and review the initial assumptions involved in the city’s decisions regarding ECP and SME to examine whether or not they remain valid today? If yes, can you do so in a balanced and unbiased manner based on standard business practice and models?

12) The city’s charter grants broad power and latitude to the city government. Please describe any areas where you feel there needs to an adjustment made to the powers granted by the charter.

Geeguy, this post may be a prime example of the phrase “be careful what you ask for”, but now my guilt of not posting is lifted.

Great job on the forum and thank you for your civic involvement.

Best wishes,


WolfPack said...

Nice post Joe. I particularly like idea number 7 about a staff position that reports directly to the commission acting as a constituent/city staff liaison.

Susan Kahn said...

Joe, you bring up very important issues and I would be happy to address them from my viewpoint.


Anonymous said...

Joe has struck a chord on the background issue.

I am very curious what level of education our present commissioners, mayor and candidates have achieved? Mr. Lawton and his staff?

Geeguy, can you shed some light?

Anonymous said...

Loved the "Audacity Alert" - wouldn't it be sweet to link all of the Commission "levitation" moments to that label???

Anonymous said...

As we consider levels of education our present commissioners, mayor and candidates have achieved...

Please also take note of career building paths in private vs. taxpaid positions.

Joe points out two things:

1) The longer a manager stays, the greater their influence on both policy and operational culture.
2) As the manager’s influence increases, the significance and influence of the elected positions decreases

Is it possible that a Manager, a Mayor, a Commissioner, or staff member/consultant is sorely limited as a public servant when she/he has not spent equal time in the private sector or run a successful, thriving business?

Is it time to restructure city goverment to better balance power?