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Expressing concern for local government

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I attended Polson’s city commissioners meeting to hear of their progress toward finding a new city manager: the form of government the public voted for, instead of mayor-council leadership. Since that election, the city commissioners have found it necessary to hire and fire two city managers, each time leaving themselves in charge. It has been said generally these firings were for political reasons. In response to one of those employees resigning, as opposed to actually being fired, when you are working for someone who does not want you to work for them anymore and makes you an offer of continued employment but changes your work conditions knowing you object to those conditions it is clear their intent is to terminate your employment.

A large fine applied to the city because of their abrupt recent firing, and I heard their first option is to simply give that manager power to another city official by changing his title, sounds suspicious. Staying in-house certainly keeps the power in place, but it’s not the system the people voted for. Council members should remember their obligation to work on your behalf, not their own agendas.

The last city manager was fired in November. Recommendations by staff were made to initiate the hiring process but most of your commissioners, except for two that seemed stymied by the majority, have found reasons to not do so. The claim is they need to find out legally what process they must use. November, December, January, February and March have gone by. In April, they still did not know what they should be doing? Insult added to injury, they gave themselves two months to figure it out.

If you ran a business, how would you deal with these kinds of employees? Move them to the management type of positions like they hold in your government or replace them with more effective workers.

An announcement was also made that council positions are coming up for election. Candidate filing time is open soon. Two choices are at hand, do nothing or do something. The phrase of reaping what is sown comes to mind for Polson’s voters.

Rich Bell

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