Ada city council’s recent letter to the city manager specifying goals for the upcoming year got more than a few tongues wagging around town. It also had the effect of setting many city employees’ nerves on edge.
Clearly, this city council is more of an activist body than Ada has experienced in many years, and possibly ever. This is not a bad thing. On their behalf it should be said Ada city councilors are only interested in moving the city forward.
The difficulty lies in the fact that, like a majority of smaller communities, Ada does not have a strong mayor form of government. Under that system a great deal of power resides in one person who is empowered to make decisions and set goals. As Greg McCortney, city councilor, points out, it is difficult for five councilors to decide on a course of action because if three of them show up in a certain place one of them has to leave.
The letter was an attempt to crystallize thoughts and set a direction. Some of the goals are appropriate and appear to be within the bounds of reasonable expectations. Taken together, however, even Superman couldn’t do them all, as one Ada resident has said. Another potential issue with some of the goals is there is no definable way to measure success. Like beauty, it will apparently depend upon the viewer.
The biggest problem with the letter, however, is the demoralizing effect it has had on city employees. Section 8 C advises the city manager to “Compile a list of city programs and/or positions that could be cut or reduced in an effort to cut waste and reduce redundancy.” Many hardworking city employees must be wondering if their positions fall into the “redundant” category.
McCortney said he envisions meeting with city employees to allay their fears. The sooner this is done, the better.
— Loné Beasley