There were two meetings yesterday, one of several important topics discussed at each was the arrangement of hiring the retiring chief back to mentor potential replacements and to administer a couple unfinished projects.
The first meeting was a firefighters union meeting. I did not attend, but I did read an article on the local paper's web site which quoted Tim Strack, the union local president, in an open letter.
In the open letter, Strack wrote that bringing the chief back “is
counterproductive for the future” of the department and “a poor use of
public resources.” Three months is not long enough to develop a fire
chief, and with the chief sticking around, the acting chiefs wouldn’t have
the necessary autonomy to run the department, Strack wrote.
The second meeting was a city council meeting, which was held last night. Again I did not attend, but the city sent out a press release during the meeting which said that the subject of rehiring the fire chief had been revisited, and after receiving criticism from the public and the union, it had been decided not to rehire the retiring chief in any fashion.
As the press release appears to have been issued during the meeting, the matter was likely decided (re-decided?) in a closed door session prior to the public meeting.
Also in the press release, the city manager was quoted as saying that a retired fire chief or other high ranking city official would be hired as an interim chief while a nationwide search was conducted for a permanent replacement.
I find the above statement curious. Does that mean the city manager is going outside, for even the interim chief? It sure sounds like it to me. The city manager is also quoted in the newspaper as saying that his choice to try the three-chief arrangement did not mean
he thought no one in the department was qualified to become chief. Maybe so, but then publicly saying that he is planning to go outside, even for the interim job sure does.
We have gone outside before - it was a disaster. I'm not saying it would be again, but there are a few folks inside that I think would do a fine job . I guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens.
Regardless, the retiring chief is actually going to do so, the rotating acting chief idea is out the window and the gadfly/malcontent city hall watchers have another six months of fodder to make snarky comments about.
All at the expense of a group of people who want to help people, do their jobs and not read headlines about the political circus performing above their heads.
Thanks for reading,