The resignation of Mark O’Neal as Town Manager was a shock to some, but too others they feel it is about time. The talk about the need for change from the top has permeated the internet and online news articles from the DNJ. Well we have it…what now? The town still has the same bills, the same revenue, and the same resources, so by what magic will the new leadership create more?
I am surprised by the beginning of the letter when he stated openly “during the past few weeks, Mayor Reed and Vice-Mayor Adkins, along with several other members of the Council, have had conversations with me regarding the Council’s desire for a “fresh set of eyes” in the role of Town Manager.” This set the tone and also delivered a message to the residents of Smyrna. It implies that with a new Mayor [Reed] we are going to get movement and change.
In many ways that is worrisome. Understand that in my view change does NOT equal progress. You have to be able to enumerate what the change is to do. We will have a new town manager, which is change. What will the town manager do to make things better? That is change in action. Where does the progress come into play? What is the end result that you want? Do you want more income, more buildings, a smaller budget, or even the ability to lower taxes? That is progress, but the town is making changes, but not really open on what they want it to do.
Another worry I have is called ‘institutional memory’. That collective knowledge that a group has on how certain ways are the best, what works, and what doesn’t, and how to get from A to b the quickest. If the town council is in the midst of getting new eyes, and these new eyes might ‘clean house’ and make more changes, will a loss of performance be the end result? I worry that the citizens calls for changes in department heads will be done to appease the vocal minority that wants heads to roll…no pun intended.
I hope whomever they chose to become the new town manager will take the time to find out where change would equal progress and not make changes to show people he’s the new sheriff in town.
With that serious note finished I like to sit and read comments on the DNJ and other sites to see what the rumor mill has on a subject. Rumors of incompetent department heads are common, with ‘facts’ thrown about such as how some department heads are unqualified. How rules are changed so some could keep their jobs.
The one I like recently is the comments that the new town manager has already been unofficially chosen. Supposedly a ‘Harry Gill’ is the heir apparent to the throne. If this is true and plays out then there has been discussions that should have been covered by open meeting laws that were broken…if true that is. I’m just going to sit back and watch how it plays out, and if ‘Harry’ does win, well you heard it here first.