Thursday, September 26, 2013

Town Manager II

There are two ways to view what is happening in the town government, cynically, and hopefully. I’m trying to walk that small line between the two by looking at both sides.

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.


Auls Oglethorpe said...

Didn't Mr. O'Neal receive a high grade/vote of confidence and a huge pay raise recently? Talk about read between the lines.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. The problem I have with all this is, 46%. That number came after last years layoffs. Layoffs were done, I thought, to fix the budget short falls. That 46%idicates to me that the problems have been going on for a number of years. That is a lot of blind eyes. Council included.

You cant really blame the economy when you are taking trips to an east Tennessee resort twice in two years. That line of thought is troubling, especially when you are having to layoff. This is out of touch thinking. By everyone involved.

Anonymous said...

It is certainly not surprising to face a change in operations of a town when the city manager suggests a tax increase of 46% during a struggling economy, and then is in charge or certainly one of those in charge of various trips to resorts to have "meetings", and makes a salary of almost $150,000 per year, while laying off those that have worked for a town for years and years. You can only hide behind others and point fingers at others for so long until it catches up with you.

Anonymous said...

While Mark has the loin's share of the blame of the problems with the decisions made, there are certianly others that need to be looked over assessed and addressed. It is not about the being "new sheriff in town" as much as it is about it being good business.

Seems to me Mark has provided a nice little road map on who to look at in his resignation "thesis". Resignations should be short and classy not long drawn out and naming.

Harry Gill is not "fresh eyes" council. Its nepotism. Vetting a manager is a process. Pefreferabily someone who has ACTUALLY managed a Town before. Weve already had someone for 11 years who has not.

Anonymous said...

This is getting more interesting. Spivey and Dover were neighbors. Ends up that ONeal is too. I think there's some old boy cleanup going on.

Anonymous said...

Well, It looks like the town council is probably going to give it to Gill. The application is just a fomality. It's turned in to a class reunion / nepotism. This is not a "fresh set of eyes." It just got worse. You called it Gunner. I wonder how much of this came from "Coon" Victory.

Anonymous said...

Came back to say you were right. Harry also lives in the same neighborhood. So much for a new day for Smyrna.

Anonymous said...

So much for this council changing anything. Nothing changes. Cronyism and nepotism is alive and well is Smyrna.

Im voting all these guys out in 2014. I've presonally have had enough.

Anonymous said...

Mr Gill is NOT the correct replacement for City Manager. He is just another "buddy" of the rest of the city council. Marc Adkins just talked the council into annexing a parcel of land that he was the listing agent. He will make a lot of money, and cost the city millions to run water and sewage to this property. Realtors should not be allowed to be council members.
Nothing has been done to stop the bleeding at the Smyrna Golf Course and the Smyrna Town Center.

Anonymous said...

CRONYISM!!!! Enough said. You were right Gunner.