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George Boehme: My View

July 20, 2015 By:George Boehme

Local News

George Washington is the only politician who didn’t blame the previous elected officials for his troubles.

In a sordid little drama being played out at West U’s Municipal Building, the new City Council is blaming the city manager for all the “problems” caused by the last City Council. But the backstory and the characters’ – er, councilmembers’ – motivation are hazy and confusing. What are these problems? West University Place is a residential wonderland.

Before Michael Ross was the West U city manager, this was the script:

The police chief was watching pornography on his office computer. Although the police chief was documented to having visited more than 300 pornography websites in one week from his office computer, the previous city manager merely “disciplined” the police chief. When City Manager Michael Ross took over as city manager, he immediately forced the porn-watching police chief’s retirement. In 2001, our police department was an industry embarrassment, but last month it won a statewide award for excellence.

The West U Building Inspection Division would have been charitably described as inefficient and more accurately described as corrupt.  City Manager Michael Ross completely overhauled this department. Today the West U Building Inspection Division is an award-winning example of government efficiency.

The West U purchasing policies were based on “best friend,” and not “best price.” Because of changes made by the current city manager, West U participates in a statewide buying pool that ensures West U taxpayers get the lowest prices for goods and services.

These are just a few examples. And perhaps all this will be moot. Soon, Councilmembers Burt Ballanfant, Bob Kelly and Brennan Reilly, will either have managed to fire West University Place City Manager Michael Ross or retreated. So mine are possibly retrospective observations.

Remember this: Good West U employees are like good baseball umpires; when they do their job well, you never know their names.

We have 127 exemplary employees in West University Place. Most of them can’t afford to live in this city; each of them has employment choices closer to home. I fear the political theatrics being played out in the council chambers will be too much to take for our employees – especially if the dénouement is the ouster of an exemplary public servant and leader.

I hope I am wrong.

12 Responses to “George Boehme: My View”

  1. Robert Says:

    Does firing qnd replacing an ineffective police chief or purchasing administrator make a city manager a hero or does that mean he has just replaced an incompetent? The city has recently made some hugely expensive and/or risky missteps based on very bad advice that went directly through Mr. Ross. It is time for better advisors

    • Johnny B Says:

      Robert what I do think is that firing those folks (all of which had a local constituency) required a focus on competency rather than cronyism, with great personal career risk for the (then new) city manager. The easy thing would have been to leave these bad employees alone and to keep-on keeping-on.

      But share with us the exact specifics where the city manager recommended “hugely expensive and/or risky missteps”. I am not aware of any. It was the city manager’s job to place competent people in city employment positions. But it is not the job of the city manager to make policy decisions. That is the job of the elected city council.

      I do appreciate the fact that you are the first person on this website who has “kind of” stated a logic for firing the city manager. And I look forward to you providing more detail.

    • Tangley Resident Says:

      Examples Please? You are drinking Bob Kelly’s Moonshine.

  2. Frank J. Vargas Jr., AIA Says:

    George, I’ve had my difference with Mr. Ross in the past, but I agree with you wholeheartedly in your assessment of the men and women employed in our City government.
    I’ve always had excellent experiences when dealing with West U employees at any level on any city department, including Fire and Police. I’ve always found them polite, cooperative, and professional.
    Sure there were times when I didn’t get the answers I wanted or when things were not what I wanted them to be, but I’ve always walked away from my meetings with city employees with the satisfaction of having been treated politely and professionally.

  3. Recall Election Says:

    Let’s not leave Mardi Turner out of this recall talks. She is just as big a liar and fraud at the other three liars and frauds.

  4. Johnny B Says:

    Mike Ross will do fine. My guess he can find a job in a day. But the employees don’t deserve this. Brennen talks about city employees like they are lego pieces and each is interchangeable. Not true Brennen. And Bob Kelly? All you have to do is watch him in action to know what’s not to love. Kelly is about as lovable as an aardvark. When is the next city council meeting? I may grill burgers and provide a keg. Our city council meetings have become a perverted form of entertainment.

  5. Stan McCandless Says:

    I can’t get beyond the CAPTCHA Code

  6. Stan McCandless Says:

    This is a test GI have tried 4 times to right a reply

    UA8B

    • Lucille Gallman Says:

      Mr. McCandless: I have had problems with the Captcha Code. . Anyway here is what I have figured out that works for me. Type your comment in the space provided and if possible copy it. After you type the Captcha Code and click submit, if it doesn’t work the first time, it deletes your comment. If you have a copy you can just paste it back. You just type the letters or numbers. Some are upper case and it seems to make a difference. Just type them one right after the other. I mean don’t try to space them like they appear. Don’t pay any attention to anything else but the letters and numbers. Just click submit once and wait about 5 seconds.

  7. Jim Shields Says:

    George – very well said. And don’t I feel like a dummy? Four years ago I allowed Kelly to use me to get rid of you.

    Brokelyn, your confidence in my ability to get things done is humbling but I am ever the optimist and am hoping that Mardi and Burt will come to their senses and put a stop to this foolishness.

    And to your point about voter apathy. George is absolutely correct when he says we live in a residential wonderland. Our neighbors will only pay attention if the services they expect start to degrade. When and if that happens, a recall will be easy.

    If we continue to be well served, it will be difficult to explain a recall.

  8. Moya Says:

    Well said George!

  9. Brokelyn Says:

    Jim Shields,
    Will you take the lead on organizing a recall? We need someone to manage this.

    Yard signs cost $1-2 each — I will pledge $100 towards this expense. The signs could read: “Restore Truth and Transparency: Recall the Slate.”

    We need someone to create a simple Web site that will clearly lay out the transgressions of Kelly, Ballanfant, and Reilly, complete with links to articles that provide all of the background on this issue. The site needs to clearly lay out the recall rules as well.

    We need to start collecting volunteers who can go door-to-door to distribute information and raise awareness. The recall hurdles are daunting considering our voter apathy. Council’s cockiness shows that they don’t fear a lazy populace — we need to overcome that inertia for this to have any chance.

    Most of all, we need to be honest and transparent. There’s no room for deceit and muckraking in this process. The facts speak for themselves; we simply need to shine a strong light upon it.

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