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Managing a new city managerPosted 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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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.
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