Prop. 1 leads to a well-run city | LETTER TO THE EDITOR
July 3, 2011 · 11:08 AM
To the editor:
In a recent letter to the editor, Ms. Waters is right to connect the city of Langley’s current legal problems and Proposition 1 for a council-manager form of government. But she makes the wrong connection. The current city council has many problems, but it should not be blamed for the city’s legal blunders. These belong on the other side of the balance of powers.
It is simply wrong to imply that the city council is responsible for the legal costs associated with a city personnel issue (and there has been more than one, in recent years). Hiring and firing of staff is the responsibility of the mayor’s office.
But it is also much too simple to suggest that the city council is responsible for the legal costs associated with the Langley Passage development. The city’s flip-flopping on these issues (and the resulting legal costs) resulted not from a single decision by the council, as Ms. Waters implies, but from woefully inadequate support/work and poor advice from the city’s planning and legal staff.
Indeed, the remarkably broad support enjoyed by the proposed hearing examiner position provides evidence to that effect. A well-run city and staff, along with a better-informed and more critical council, could have avoided these sorts of legal blunders.
Langley’s current difficulties stem from a long stretch of poor decisions. As our city faces increasingly complex choices, we will need to rely on a professional, experienced staff and a well-run city. Proposition 1 provides for this need. If we are going to pay someone a full-time salary to run this city, why not pay a professional manager? Then we can avoid the sort of amateur mistakes that the city is now paying for.