Prop. 1 may turn the boat | LETTER TO THE EDITOR
July 27, 2011 · Updated 10:45 AM
To the editor:
Proposition 1; does Langley need or want a professional administrator, and of course, can it afford one? While it’s true that most Washington cities have opted for the council/mayor form of government, a look at all the recent areas (post 1983) that have adopted cityhood, shows that 14 out of 16 have chosen the council-manager form of government. Do they know something we don’t?
Could it be that things aren’t so simple anymore, that running a city requires professional expertise honed through appropriate experience and education? We’re competing in a flat world where a sustainable economy requires mastery of new communications, innovations and partnerships.
First there’s the complex world of regulations and procedures. We have an exacting legal system where land use is defined within the Growth Management Act, personnel and practices are subject to legal scrutiny, accounting practices are closely audited and all city contracts go far beyond a hand shake. How much has the city by the sea spent on errant voyages?
Next there’s that grant situation. Like it or not, jurisdictions are eligible for, and generally require such economic incentives to move forward, to become more competitive and to respond to emerging opportunities. The ability to assemble facts and present a case through a demanding grant application process will probably miss the boat if appropriate skills are not included in one’s resume and job description.
Lastly is the proactive side of city government. We can continue to do things as we always have and put out fires when they arise. But what about creating opportunities, turning the boat, crafting an innovative plan for the future and then efficiently selling and administering it?
Although I’m not a citizen of Langley, I think it’s a unique and fascinating city that deserves the right to hire a proven administrator to efficiently accomplish the goals established by the elected officials. It continues to attract admirable candidates for office, whose significant contributions could be greatly enhanced with a council-manager form of government, as offered with Prop. 1.