Reverse the vote

Wednesday, March 8, 2006

Dear Editor,

Whoa! Stop! Back up!  Whatever you do, don't invite Bingham back!

Surely the City Council didn't rehire John Bingham, (in my opinion) the worst city manager that McCook has had in a long long time.  Surely there were more qualified candidates.

Yes, I served on the council during most of Bingham's time at the helm in McCook. In my opinion John put a complete damper on any residential building in McCook by constantly hassling buil-ders.

Broken promises were commonplace, as for example, killing the medium- priced housing addition that Claude Cappel platted north of Q Street.

John oversaw the implementation of the new, extremely high-priced, water plant that will bring you nicely chlorinated water to drink.

There was a much better, about half-priced, option to bring the city acceptably pure water, but John so angered the landowners that deal was quashed. Of course, he had lots of help from Councilman Lyons to kill that better idea.

Bingham's style of leadership was to sit in his office and avoid the public at all costs. He led strictly by city ordinance so most of the time the city was on autopilot and who needs a City Manager for that?

In my experience, John recognized only a very few of the city employees by sight, the rest were just out there somewhere. Definitely not my style of leadership.

All these things I wrote in my annual evaluations of the city manager. Evaluations that evidently were not heeded, because the council gave him a raise each year over my vote. Honestly, those four years I sat on the council were the worst years of my public service career.

During his time of service as city manager, John Bingham was costing the City over $100,000 in wages and benefits: medical insurance, life insurance, travel, professional dues plus a new car to drive.

And it looks like the present council is going to give him a big raise to come back.  For sure this council isn't representing my interest! I sure would like to know why he (left) his present job near Portland.

This debacle of rehiring a poor city manager makes me all the more determined to change our present form of city government. I personally think all council members should be elected by ward to give more accountability.

We need an elected full- time mayor, a person who knows McCook and would have her long-time interests at heart. The job of mayor would be one of leadership and the day-to-day details would be taken care of by a city administrator.  

That combination could be had for what we are paying our "professional" city managers who seem to come here to build a resume and move on to a higher-paying position.

The elected mayor/city administrator is a common and legal form of city government in Nebraska and would just have to be better than what we have had in McCook for too long a time.

Please,  City Council re-verse your decision and sent John Bingham packing.

Aaron Kircher you did well in voting against him. Hopefully a majority of the others will develop some common sense and not foist this poor example of a city manager on us again!

Dick Trail


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