City losing wonderful manager

To the Editor:

I don’t want to say I told you so, but here we are looking for another city manager. This is the nature of charter government. Charter government inherently means that there is a strong city manager and a weak mayor.

These city manager types are city builders. It’s much the same with an entrepreneur. They start a business then they want to grow it. The problem is that it takes a lot of money to build businesses and cities.

In business, the market place will shape your future. Financial mistakes are not tolerated and will be short lived. That’s the nature of capitalism.

In city government, the same risk factors apply. The difference is that there is a guaranteed flow of tax money. At the same time, projects are being implemented and it takes years to determine the success of the project. There is no self-mechanism to correct mistakes.

So with an unending supply of money, the future is being molded by a very small group of people. The conflict arises because the elected commissioners, in a charter type of government, don’t all agree on the same vision. The implementation of a vision takes political leadership.

So, you are left with a city commission who relies on a city manager to implement the shaping of the future. City managers do not get involved in the politics because they rely on the elected city commissioners to do so. The vision then becomes lost because there is no consistency from one year to the next. The city manager moves on because the motivation is stymied.

The real pain is not knowing what is lost to opportunity cost. I contend that in recent years our drop in household income is a product of the high cost of pursuing one path over another.

Statutory government, on the other hand, means that you have a strong mayor who is elected by the citizens of that community. They come from the community and they have a better feel for the will of the community. A good leader will build consensus. In statutory government, the incentive to succeed is much higher because the mayor wants to do good and get re-elected for the right reasons.

Our current system is leaderless. This commission diluted the role of leadership by deciding that they and not us know who is suitable to be our mayor. This dilution is a subversion of a common purpose. It’s time for a change.

Gary Huff did a wonderful job. I don’t blame him for moving on. Godspeed, Mr. Huff. Listen up, Piqua, we need to change the way we govern ourselves.

— William R. Jaqua