Throws Like A Girl

I wanted to expand on two items from my previous post.

One is that we are being presented with a two different options:

1) Vote on one of the three finalists for city manager

2) Dump the three finalists for city manager and keep Ed Augustus for a longer term, or for life, or until we have a strong mayor

There is, of course, a third option.  It’s one that was available to us when Mike O’Brien resigned, and it’s still available.

We have an assistant city manager. Her name is Kathy Johnson. If we’re unhappy with our choices and need to re-do the search, she can be appointed as interim city manager. If Ed Augustus has to leave, she can be appointed as interim city manager.

If you recall, the reason Ed Augustus needed to be hired as city manager — not interim city manager — is that the city’s charter only allows current city employees to be appointed as an interim city manager.

We had someone who was eminently qualified to run things until a suitable candidate was found.

But rather than temporarily hand her the reins, the City Council chose to find someone from the outside and hire him to a short term.
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Yes, at the very beginning, there was a woman who has run the city in the past, and may yet need to run it in the future, and she wasn’t even considered. There were no city manager finalists who were women, either. Perhaps there was a lack of qualified female candidates. But why would a woman want to apply for a job when it’s obvious the Council looked elsewhere when there was a woman who could do the job standing right in front of them?

There was also a comment on FB that I may have impugned Mr. Augustus’ integrity.

On the contrary, I seem to be one of the few people in the city who believed him when he said he would not be a candidate for a permanent city manager position.

Those who are close to him, and myriad “community leaders” seem to be the ones implying that Mr. Augustus is a man who would go back on his word.

Machinations of Worcester’s “Machine”

For those (like myself) who weren’t able to attend the city manager candidate interviews, the video (1, 2, 3) is on the city website, and there was coverage from MassLive, Wo Mag, and Steve Foskett’s incredible livetweets.   There are also columns this morning from Nick K.[$] and Dianne W [$].

I was going to spend this weekend watching the video and taking notes … but why bother when there’s just going to be another plea from the people who really run the city [$] to keep Ed Augustus on as city manager.

In the latest letter [$], we’re told that the “search [for a new city manager] has been completed” and now the City Council needs to beg — for the 5,367th time — for Ed Augustus to stay.  [I recommend you read the letter and wonder, like I do, if that’s the Mike O’Brien signing onto the letter.]

What really happened was that Oscar Rodriguez was not the ogre they were hoping for.  Instead, he was an engaged, intelligent, charming leader.

So the machine could no longer rely on Plan A: hire David Moore as city manager, have him serve out 3-4 years whilst the strong mayor movement gains momentum, and then have him step down once the new government is ushered in.

On to Plan B (otherwise known as the original Plan A): keep Ed Augustus for 3-4 years whilst the strong mayor movement gains momentum, and then have him step down (or become chief of staff) once the new government is ushered in.

I bear no ill will towards Mr. Augustus; he seems to care enough about Worcester (though not enough to live here).  He also inspires hyperbole previously seen only from the fans of Arthur T. Demoulas, but I can’t completely fault him that.

The mayor and the municipal operations committee have done their darndest to undermine the city manager search process.  Between having “listening sessions” that bordered on abuse, hiring a search firm whose claim to fame is the worst job posting in history, passing over Dana Levenson, and alternating between a strong mayor movement and a Draft Ed movement, there has never been a point when these guys have actually, seriously, looked for a real candidate for city manager.

And now they and a group of “community leaders” are doing everything in their power to ensure that no qualified candidate would ever apply to be Worcester’s city manager.

I never again want to hear Joe Petty talk about how city employees need to live in the city when this City Council hired a city manager who does not live in the city.

I never again want to hear any city councilor talk about how to retain young professionals in this city.  No college graduate wants to stay in a provincial place in which the only people who are allowed to succeed are those in Tim Murray’s inner circle and when some of the most important public meetings of the year are scheduled for 3:30 in the afternoon.

Worcester has some real challenges facing it: a serious pension liability, an ancient sewer and water infrastructure, a downtown that’s half-built and half-Krock-owned, three high schools in desperate need of a rebuild, and a city councilor who thinks that someone’s favorite song is a deciding factor in a city manager candidate, to name but a few.

But Worcester has some amazing assets, the greatest of which is the people of our city.  Worcester residents are diverse, artistic, friendly, and smart.

And we deserve better than a mayor who wants the City Council to have “an honest conversation” on Tuesday at 5:30 pm about whether or not to abandon a halfhearted city manager search.

By all means, have an “honest conversation.”

Let’s talk, honestly, about why Rick Rushton — who previously gave Konnie Lukes a hard time about holding an unscheduled vote to appoint Ed Augustus as city manager — felt it was perfectly ok to hold a vote for city manager so that he could get his beauty rest.

Let’s talk, honestly, about why no “outsider” would ever be allowed to be city manager.

Let’s talk, honestly, about who is actually running the show.