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Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017

Managing a new city manager

Posted Monday, January 11, 2010, at 8:43 AM

Some Shelbyville City Council members have suggested they'd prefer to hire someone with local connections as city manager rather than someone who's never lived here.

From one aspect, I can understand that. I've heard others say they feel more comfortable dealing with someone who has some knowledge of Shelbyville.

But a complete outsider wouldn't necessarily be the ogre some people seem to fear. I think most of us can think of people around Bedford County who have moved in from somewhere else and fit in nicely.

I guess it's fair to point out -- and this isn't an attack on anyone -- that the city manager who was recently forced out was a Shelbyville native. So hiring a local or semi-local doesn't automatically mean they and the city council will get along.

Let's just hope that whoever is hired is qualified (especially important), honest, even-tempered and gets along with the public and the council without playing favorites -- and is allowed to do his/her job with reasonable oversight but unnecessary nit-picking.

Here's some food for thought. Any city is going to have some disagreement or controversy over appointment of a manager. Should Shelbyville eliminate the city manager position and go to a "strong mayor" system, like Bedford County -- where the elected mayor is a full-time executive taking direct, hands-on control?

And do you think any other currently-appointed city or county officials should be subject to election instead? Or elected offices converted to appointed positions?

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If you hire from a pool of Shelbyville residents exclusively, you're sure to hear more accusations of the "good ol' boy" system. The only thing left to chance is who will be doing the complaining, based on who is not getting their way.

I must say, I agree with the "strong mayor" concept. If we're going to elect a candidate, why have it be ceremonial only, and have another position duplicate what one position could accomplish ? No stab at Mr. Cartwright or Mr. Ray here, but do we really give these gentlemen enough power to justify the position ?

-- Posted by superx1250 on Mon, Jan 11, 2010, at 11:02 AM

Just wondering. How many members of the council were born and raised in Shebyville?

-- Posted by bomelson on Mon, Jan 11, 2010, at 3:38 PM

Superx1250... Mr. Ray is a strong mayor. While you may be right where Mr. Cartwright is concerned, our county mayors position is a full-time; full-salaried; working position. While it may have appeared to be a part-time job under other mayors, I can assure you that Mr. Ray does more for taxpayers before lunch than most politicians do in an entire term.

-- Posted by Ponyboy on Tue, Jan 19, 2010, at 7:35 AM

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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.