Following the March 14 Dallas Morning News front-page Metropolitan section story, “Audit: Millions Couldn’t be Traced”*, we received a letter from a non-resident who is well credentialed in municipal government.
Because of his professional background we felt it was important to share his insights with you since he makes his comments based on facts. In the spirit of full transparency, his name is Ed Griffin and he agreed to allow us to share his thoughts with you. This is important because much of the information written by others is often posted without a name.
However, before relating contents from his letter, let us first share this man’s background: Two decades of municipal government engagement including — on the National League of Cities Board of Directors, Intergovernmental Relations Director for the North Carolina League of Municipalities, Executive Director of the Kentucky League of Cities for 11 years, has a Masters Degree in Public Administration and taught at the University of North Carolina’s Institute of Government.
Also relating to Mr. Griffin’s comments (below) it is relevant to note that Ron Whitehead is indeed involved in Addison politics; he is treasurer of Jim Duffy’s campaign and was actively engaged in a March 7 meeting at May Dragon for which a concerned_citizens16 email stated: “If you are interested in unseating those that voted for the Sam’s rezoning, come to a meeting Monday night at 7:00 P.M…..”
Fact: The following is reprinted with permission directly from Mr. Griffin’s letter
“I read with great interest a recent publication regarding the Addison former City Manager’s attempt to get out of the office and into a political fray.
City Management is a profession. City Council Members are elected officials that are elected by all the people to set direction and policy that examines and sets ordinances and standards for the Town of Addison. City Managers are responsible for the proper and efficient management of the Town’s business.
The Council, representing the taxpayers, holds the staff responsible and the head of the staff is the City Manager. The City Manager is responsible for following the directives, guidelines and policies of the Council as well as the statutes that govern the variety of authorities that cities have. He, or she, is responsible for following these rules and laws and for bringing creative ideas, resolutions to problems, options for debate, new technologies that help the Town stay abreast of efficiencies as well as other administrative oversight and recommendations to the Council for policy considerations.
The recent discussion of financial problems of a few years ago is an issue of accountability and internal control systems, which rightly rests solely with the City Manager. The Manager is the staff person singularly employed by the Council to carry out important and specific duties. The Council is responsible to the voters. The City Manager is responsible to the Council.
When a City Manager becomes enthralled in politics, whether he is retired or not, he crosses the red line. Management is a profession that is taught vigorously in universities and supported by the International City Management Association. It has a code and creed to be constantly professional. It is not a vehicle to get into politics in order to have allies protect the reputation of the former City Manager.
If a vigilant eye was kept on the holy grail of finances by the senior staff official and mistakes were made and staff was not sufficient to manage the tasks and a check and balance system was not in place, then a professional city manager should admit it. He should have addressed the issue when he was responsible by bringing information and options to the Council to address an important topic.
The City Manager is paid to know what his employees are doing, how well they are performing their jobs and if he or she does not have the authority to make changes accordingly or to infuse additional funding then the Manager is expected to bring it to the Council for consideration. He should not promote a political agenda to try to cover up 32 years of his administration or any part thereof.
This attempt to politicize an election only illuminates the mistakes made under the Manager’s watch. It does not erase history. It does not bring resolve. It does reinforce the need to maintain consistently responsive and responsible administration as the Council has done with the appointment of a highly qualified new City Manager.
The Town needs stability of vigilance and trustworthy action by responsible elected officials, which are in place. I would encourage citizens of Addison to stay the course. Support the Council members who care enough to hire independent auditors and independent consultants that will provide the citizen’s business to be conducted in a manner that everyone is proud of and trusts.
New people or old people representing the past and supporting actions that are not in the best interest of the Town represent a road that is not in the best interest of a great Town with a great future. Voters should be very cognizant that actions have consequences. Positive actions, like supporting the incumbents, can ensure that steady hands will address problems and maximize opportunities.
City Managers everywhere should focus on city management and not politics. The two are distinctly different. When City Managers decide, or others decide for them, to retire they need to retire.”
*An online version of this article is not available on the Dallas Morning News’ website. A copy can be read, however, on PressReader. PressReader will charge $0.99 for that issue of March 14, 2016.