What's the Rush?

A question has arisen about the timing of the City Commission's selection of a new manager, especially in light of the existing Commission's insistence that the new manager be an advocate for the Highwood Generating Station coal fired electrical plant.

This is a tough question and I can see both sides. Take a sitting Commissioner like John Rosenbaum. ""I was just offended that we wouldn't be qualified (to pick a new manager)," he said. He's not up for re-election and selection of the new manager is a part of his job duties. Elections and turnover are constants; why should he seek anything other than continuity in City management?

On the other hand, there have been a number of controversial issues of late, and a vocal group of citizens oppose much that the City Commission does. "What's the rush?" they ask. Assuming there will be some turnover in November, doesn't it make sense that the new manager be selected by the Commission that he or she will initially work with on the City's business?

Further, the argument that the selection cannot be delayed because the Commission already has a selection process in place is circular. In other words, according to Commissioners, one of the reasons the Commissioners shouldn't change the selection process is because the Commissioners adopted a selection process. That's not very persuasive.

Those advocating for delay seem to anticipate a sweeping tide of change come November. I'm not so sure. I wonder if this group does not suffer a bit from an echo chamber effect. Like Pauline Kael before them, everyone one they know intends to vote for the challengers. I do not know if discontent with the present administration is nearly so widespread as some seem to think.

Barring every incumbent losing in November, I don't know that it really makes much difference if a new City Manager is hired, or if the very capable Cheryl Patton runs the show for a few months. On the other hand, if every incumbent loses, we'll have a new majority. This majority should certainly be able to handle any new employee with which it has to contend.

So I can't get too worked up about it.


Anonymous said...

To ensure a hand picked undertaker is placed to keep secrets buried. The recruiter is a smoke screen.

The Shadow

Anonymous said...

Mayoral Mary Jolley's comments were great:

One of the candidates said she won't criticize commissioners if they do pick a new manager this year.

"Legally, they can do it," said Mary Jolley, a commission candidate.

Jolley called it "a ridiculous thing" to require the new manager to support the Highwood project. She said the notion that the city manager merely puts the commission's directives into action is "a joke."

Of course in full disclosure - I know her, I know her work and her extensive research from the beginning on the coal plant.