Letters to the Editor

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TACOMA: Council made right decision on manager

Letter by Brian Ebersole, Tacoma on July 14, 2011 at 9:00 am with 4 Comments »
July 14, 2011 1:25 pm

Congratulations to Tacoma Mayor Strickland and the City Council for a good decision to move forward with a new city manager. This time, look for someone who is not dominant.

This mayor and council are very bright, policy- oriented and talented. They do not need a leader in the new manager; they need a follower, someone to follow their lead, their direction, their policy, their ordinances, their collective wisdom and decisions.

They represent the people. The city charter is clear. The City Council sets the policy. The city manager implements the policy.

Sounds simple, but it is not simple day to day. Any dominant manager can wrestle policy-making power away from the mayor and council. After all, the manager controls the staff and even the flow of information. So this mayor and council need to first and foremost examine the attitudes of the manager candidates.

Who sees the job as following the lead and the decisions of the council? Who will bring the tough decisions to the council instead of staff decisions?

Hire a dedicated, professional public servant who will be subservient to the collective will of the council. This mayor and council are loaded with great ideas, technical skills, political savvy and a love of Tacoma. Give them the ball, and let them run with it.

If we dont get it right in the next six years, then switch to a strong mayor/strong council form of government like Seattle, Spokane and Portland have. Let the elected officials call the shots. If they fail, vote them out of office.

(Ebersole is a former Tacoma mayor, state legislator and speaker of the state House of Representatives.)

Leave a comment Comments → 4
  1. LarryFine says:

    Well Brian, why the heck are we paying a non-elected yes man soooo much money ? That’s what your advocating right ?

  2. L_F
    Managers implement and carry out policies – they may even have some input in creating those policies – BUT they don’t get to set policies by themselves.

    What does the Tacoma City manager have to do with The Sprague Ave exit, which was a product of the Washington STATE Department of Transportation?

  3. harleyrider1 says:

    We have a Manager-Council form of government is “why”, Brian.

    You actually believe this Mayor, which has had the spotlight on her twice in 3-months for lying, has political savoy and technical skills to run our government?

    We’re trying to figure out who voted this woman into office.

  4. Roncella says:

    The Poor folks who live in Tacoma have been punished for the past few years, as Companies who provided many good Jobs and help pay the taxes for city of Tacoma have left one by one by one.

    The Mayor and city council have failed to help keep Tacoma a good place to work and live.

    If the folks in Tacoma don’t rid themselves of these politicians at the next voting opportunity then they will deserve exactly what that have now. Nothing, Zero, performance.

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