By Art Woosley
Great thanks go to Flagler Beach Mayor Alice Baker and Commissioners Steve Settle, Ron Vath and Joy McGrew for bringing some sanity to the process in the search for a new city manager.
I have resided in this great little city for over twelve years now, and this band of floating managers, Range Riders or whatever they wish to call themselves, have continued to come and go, clearly showing that this system does not work, at least not in our case.
Because we are just a small city with a population of only around 5,000 people, there is no way we can pay the salaries of other larger cities, and we should not try, as money alone does always produce the best candidate.
History has shown that these so called “hired guns” with various degrees of “competency” ride the circuit just bouncing from city to city. Not surprisingly, a few have been known to start sending out resumes for higher paying jobs elsewhere shortly after their arrival.
In addition, once here it often takes them up to six months to understand and relate to our different city departments, department heads, personnel etc. The process appears to repeat itself over and over, much to our detriment.
One such “circuit rider” even needed to “consult” with a previous commissioner on how best to handle a department head as they could not get that particular department head to take any direction, and had all but been told get out of that department heads office, (something which does not show up in the interview process).
Yes, the four officials mentioned above are without a doubt are on the right track, and must be strongly applauded for their stance, Commissioner Settle stated it correctly in saying this is the “most important duty of all”, that of deciding who will administer our city.
We do not in any way need anything akin to a managers’ association or outside non-residents deciding or even presenting candidates who they think will be the best for our city. We certainly have many very intelligent, competent individuals who reside here, individuals who most importantly would have roots here, who would have their heart in our city, making it unnecessary to consider another unknown who is simply bouncing through on the “circuit.” We can only hope that commissioners John Feind and Jane Mealy understand our need for change here, and that they decide to get on board, as the old circuit-rider system has clearly not worked well for us.
We should stay as close to home as possible. After all, what do people coming in here from south or central Florida, or anywhere else in the country for that matter, know about our history, values and expectations, let alone our unique environment? Now is the time to look at our own qualified local people for leadership. We do not need to spend yet more of the tax payers dollars to have (any so-called experts) do what we as a city are capable of doing.
We should require real accountability and strong hands on leadership from any prospective candidate, and as Baker aptly stated, hopefully some stabilization. And any contract can be written with a probation period as a safety measure to further protect our city, should things not work out.
Think about it: Who would have more interest and concern for what happens to our city: the person with roots here, or a person just passing on through?
Art Woosley, retired fire chief from Miami-Dade, is a Flagler Beach resident and political activist.
It’s not the people for hire that are the problem, its the people doing the hiring. They don’t want competent independent managers. They want someone they can manipulate and control to do what they want. They city’s elected leaders don’t want someone who will tell the city department managers what to do. They still want to do that themselves.
Get some competent elected leaders and you’ll have a good city manager in short order.
Art Woosley says
Elaygee, Better yet, as I have often stated to many of our residents, there is ONLY one true way to have any real ACCOUNTABILITY, and that is to have a government composed of FIVE elected officials, from our community.
This governing body would consist of a (voting) mayor, and four commissioners, all of whom would then have to answer directly to our residents for the budget, tax increases, the overall condition of the city etc. come election day (TRUE accountability).
Under our present system, city managers serve at the will of the commission (or let us say three commissioners), not we the residents.
Salary for these five officials, would be increased from the savings of the managers position one hundred thousand plus, in addition, doing this would also serve to broaden the candidate pool, something our city greatly needs.
We are a very small city as you know, and I am truly convinced that we will have greater accountability under such a system, we do indeed have many competent / qualified people living here some of whom may then step forward.
If this system then failed to function properly, we could always return to the city manager form of governing, and give away that accountability, bringing us full circle.
At present however, we must continue on with the present system, and only hope, that someone with roots, and true concern for our city, get’s the helm as the new city manager.
Well here we go again. I agree we don’t need some outside group to pick our city manager. What I have a problem with is Art Woosley. After his article in the Daytona Newspaper his agenda again is to get rid of our city fire dept. His agenda is strictly to get his people in there, so they can destroy what this city has just so he does’t have to pay his taxes for the fire dept. I would hope the commision picks a good manager that wants to work with all depts and not want to get rid of any depts that one certain group decides to get rid of.
elaygee you hit the nail on the head! It’s the people we elect to do the job that are failing Flagler Beach. The only way you get fresh ideas and a better way of doing things is to look outside of the “good ol’ boy” network.
Hey Strling, How Right You are!! We Have Been here since the 70’s. We Do Think the Mayor is Doing the Best Job Possible as is Mrs. McGrew! Have Not Had to much Time to Eval Mr. Settles yet. As for the Remaining Two, Well Lets Just Say Cant Wait for Election Day, and Get a Couple of People in Office to Replace Them! ASAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Lets get some People in there that can work together and get things Done that the Residents Want not what those think is in Their Best Interest!! Example Sure: Give up The Fire House, Yea Great Idea R.V. I think Not!! J.M.: Celebrate the 4th of July on the 3rd? That Turned out to be a “Disaster” Thanks for nothing as Usual, Just take one look at the attendance from last year vs This Year! Our Booth Starved, Was not even worth setting up and Dont Blame the Rain!!! As for Art Woosley, You are a new Commer here at 12 years and already people are unhappy with your Contributions, Dont waste your Time running for any Office any time soon, unless you want to become Stooge # 3 because we already have 2! But then again its always been the 3 Stooges, So Feel Free!! Next time you pull out of a side street and cant see Due to that Big Rv Parked on the City Right of Way, or a Tractor Cab Parked along side your Home or Travel Trailors Parked Over Night in a City Parking Lot, or Dogs Taking a Dump in a Park you and your kids are in that States No Dogs Allowed or that Person runs you off the BoardWalk on his or her Bicycle, Let your Commisioners know about it !