The Next Ex-City Manager

Scottsdale political pundits and operatives were slinking around the City Hall Kiva last night, either in-person or virtually, monitoring the broadcast and Twitter feeds.

I received several emails asking for my opinion of the interviews being conducted to replace ex-city manager David Richert and now-interim city manager Dan Worth. But I was too busy to watch. I had to wash my hair.

In the couple of weeks leading up to this riveting political drama, the Scottsdale Republic editors lamented the lack of quality candidates. They blame, among other things, “our state’s reputation,” and, “an abysmal educational system.”

The anonymous electronic rag Voice of Scottsdale said of the situation leading to last night’s proceedings:

Dan Worth’s inexperience has helped create an unstable environment that has permitted politics to leak into the management and the policy-making processes.

However, this statement confuses Scottsdale’s City Charter demarcation between policy-making (the purview of the City Council) and administration (the realm of the city manager). Further, in my humble opinion, politics had flooded both of those arenas long before Dan Worth agreed to temporarily fill Richert’s seat.

That’s the real reason we can’t get good quality applicants for the top job, and why we’ll never hire one. As long as the mayor and city council are willing to lie about their loyalties (e.g. to the Chamber of Commerce and developers instead of the citizens) in order to get elected, they’ll need someone to throw under the bus before the next election.

Anyone who would make a good city manager is smart enough to know this.

And we should be smart enough to know that the process of choosing the occupant of that office is irrelevant as long as he serves at the pleasure of a sold-out city council.

A recent and relevant Quote of the Day:

Managers are people who do things right; leaders are people who do the right thing.

Warren Bennis, group behaviorist and leadership theorist.


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