At the A.C.I.L. Candidate's Forum last week all four potential council members touted their own business acumen and their own experience in running private sector enterprises as the reason they should each be elected. All four men thought the town should be run more like a company with more corporate style governance, and described their vision of the residents as the share holders, the council as the board of directors, and the city manager as the C.E.O.
It all sounded fairly logical and certainly more efficient than the mismanaged country club that the town has become, but I have some big questions about how this "business"model might actually apply.
Anyone who attended the Charles Marsala ethics hearing will remember city attorney Furth's elaborate explanation for why she would not release her findings report to the public. Stating with some conviction that she would not release the report because "like any other business" her "sole obligation" was to follow the wishes of the council majority (who determines her continued employment). "Sole obligation"? I was sort of hoping some one was in charge using their expensive legal expertise to keep the town viable ethically--not just defensively to keep themselves employed and because Carlson and Lewis wanted to protect their hold onto the majority vote by keeping Charles around.
How will the next city attorney or the next city manager hired by the next council, ever properly serve the PUBLIC INTEREST through actual leadership, with even more of a corporate culture model than we have now. How will the "shareholders" know what the product even is or how to recognize any profit.
There must be some difference in what model works for Business and what works for Governance and maybe we should be exploring this question vigorously right now before end up in the same mess again.