George Boehme: My View

July 20, 2015

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.

George Boehme

George Boehme is the publisher of and West University Essentials magazine.

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