Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Keystone Councilors??

Silly me; I thought the process of selecting and coming to terms with a new Town Manager for Brunswick was pretty much "losing its legs" as a news story. Sure, announcing who would be the new Manager before coming to an agreement on the compensation package seemed a bit backwards, but I chalked it up to an innovative, "outside the box" style of local governance.

But au contraire, mon amis, the story seems to be gaining legs rather than losing them. Today's Brunswick paper features two related items; an article and a letter.

The article, a rather lengthy Page 1 item, includes a somewhat conflicted and diverse set of observations and equivocations about the "legal rights and duties" of the Town Council in the matter. In keeping with its current policy of reducing the value of its web site, the paper has decided not to post the article. In its place is this "web update:"
The Brunswick Town Council plans to meet at 6 p.m. Wednesday at 6 Industry Road. An agenda has yet to be posted or finalized, but earlier today, council chairwoman Hallie Daughtry said she was considering calling a special meeting to allow councilors to speak and vote publicly about hiring a new town manager.
The letter writer, who was one of the citizen interviewers in the process, paints a pretty ugly portrait of how the whole thing has been handled:
It turns out that from the beginning, virtually every part of the process has been mishandled and as a result, was tainted.
And she calls for a "do over:"
I can only urge the Town Council to start over. Give the critically important task of hiring a town manager the quality process it deserves. Then no matter the outcome, the public can at least have confidence that the process worked.
Well, we're damn lucky the town brought those consultants on board right from the start, or who knows how badly astray we might have gone, or how long it might have taken to reach closure on the subject?

The good news in all this is that the Town Council is gaining some invaluable on-the-job-training. We should be grateful we'll have experienced and effective leaders to guide us through the spending of tens of millions of dollars on new town facilities, and to steer the ship of town through the mined shoals of base closure.

Hopefully they'll be able to select and fund consultants who can make them look better in the future. Does anyone know of a consultant who specializes in helping you pick consultants? Or will the town have to hire a consultant to help find one?

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