To the editor:
I hesitated to write about the unfortunate display of conduct by the city council vis-á-vis the city manager on the matter of who handles what on the subject of water.
Frankly, I had not and still do not have an informed opinion on which way the matter should have gone.
I do know something about good management and the handling of sensitive public issues. I also know we have a very competent city manager whose role is not merely to be a rubber stamp for the elected governance of the city. If the council wishes a rubber stamp a la the Dilbert comic strip, that can be readily acquired.
The CEO of an organization, a city or whatever is obliged to be independent and to bring to his or her board or council his or her best recommendation on any and all issues.
It is also the responsibility of the council chair or mayor to review with the city manager such matters before public consideration to determine where there may be any differences of opinion and/or potential conflict — including potential conflict between the chair and the city manager.
The purpose of such intelligent and sound management is to acknowledge there may be differences but present the matters in ways that respect all sides of such issues and noting the importance of intelligent negotiation of such differences.
This did not happen on the water issue and suggested that the good and hardworking city council members might gain some major benefits from a short course on organizational management.
Fundamental to all of this is the simple truth that someone is not either right or wrong because he or she agrees or disagrees with you.
Most of us have learned this simple rule within our families.