City needs a clean break

To the editor:

The hardest part of this entire recruitment process for a new city manager has been that the person I so often rely on for balanced and objective advice was one of the candidates.

Although there is no direct prohibition against divulging information from city council executive sessions, it’s certainly taboo and I believe would undermine the recruitment process. While executive sessions aren’t held in strict confidence, publicly sharing praise or criticism for one candidate over another does us and the candidates a disservice. Interim city manager Sal Talarico knows he has my respect and I believed that he would effectively assist us during the interim period. The role of an interim manager can’t be self-serving but ought to bridge the divide from one administration to another.

Had I known that Mr. Talarico intended to be a candidate for city manager, I would not have gone along with council appointing him as interim manager. The compromise and unanimity I hear so often desired was demonstrated in that interim appointment. But it was also suggested in that executive session that we not even bother with a national search and instead directly appoint Mr. Talarico. I believed strongly then, as I do now, that our community needs a clear break with the previous administration, a new executive with a fresh perspective who can provide an unbiased assessment of city operations. We need a candidate who will be welcomed by the entire community without the baggage of past perceptions. I’ve read that while some may find comfort in the familiar, it would likely cause us to miss out on an array of possibilities. Let’s find a candidate that will challenge and push our community to be better than we are.

I believe that candidate exists. She may not have decades of experience. He may not be the most eloquent public speaker. We may not see eye to eye on every policy issue. But council will ultimately select a manager best suited to oversee daily operations and guide our community. That person deserves our full support because their success is our success.

Councilman Bryan Burgess