City Council shouldn't be surprised

Friday, March 17, 2006

There's an old story with several versions, but most of them go something like this:

A woman calls her brother, who lives near their parents, and he blurts out "The cat died!"

The sister, upset at his insensitivity, scolds him for being so blunt.

Asked how the news could have been broken more gently, the woman suggests a lie: First the cat was stuck on the roof. In a later call, the firefighters are responding. Still later, Fluffy was killed in a tragic accident.

Finished with her lecture, the woman moves on to other topics.

"Oh, and how's Mom?"

There's a long pause at the other end of the line.

"... uh, she's up on the roof."

There's a building consensus, including a couple of Open Forum letters today, that the City Council would have been better served by heeding the woman's advice.

McCook's previous city manager in our opinion, did a good job helping solve some very tough problems for the city, specifically the water situation.

And, he certainly deserved to be considered for his old post, once it became known that he was interested in it.

But like many strong leaders, he made enemies in the course of doing his job, and they were not hesitant to make their opinions known once the council's surprise decision was revealed.

The last thing any of the public knew, three new city manager candidates were under consideration. Suddenly, during one meeting, John Bingham was rehired, with a $5,000 raise, moving expenses and no loss of credit for time on the job.

City Council members shouldn't wonder at the public reaction.

It would have at least been nice to know the cat was on the roof.

If you've liked the last couple of weeks, you'd love a return to the elected mayor, city administrator system.

According to some who remember those days, that system could result in individual "fiefdoms" centered around the various city departments, and uneven representation and distribution of city works based on the accumulated power of the councilor representing each ward.

On the other hand, we hear stories of local political parties and citizen involvement that would put the 21st century to shame.

And, it would certainly help keep these pages interesting.

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