With Scott Ullery’s recent announcement that he’ll retire as City Manager in December, the temperature of the upcoming City Council elections just went up several degrees. Hiring a City Manager is one of the most important decisions they can make and has both long-term and short-term implications. We’ve been fortunate to have such a skilled administrator as Scott Ullery, who has been a calm and consistent force at the City despite the continual challenges that come into his office from all corners. I’ve always found him to be ethical and fair, and while I know some people sought his removal, it’s usually because they’re trying to do something that doesn’t align with our city’s strategic plan, violates city codes, or requires Council approval. It’s a thankless job because you are always subject to public criticism and you get a new set of bosses every two years (and the best city managers, like the best editors, are often invisible and let others get the credit).
Selecting the next City Manager will be a crucial responsibility for the next Council–and it’s not an easy job. In my former hometown of Upland, California, we had a terrible series Continue reading →
The City of Rockville’s process for designating historic landmarks has confused the city leaders and staff once again. For many years, the process has vexed property owners, preservationists, neighbors, staff, and city officials, despite continual calls for reform from the Historic District Commission. It’s frustrating and costs time and money, and yet, here was another discussion about it at the March 14, 2011 meeting. It borders on the surreal, so I’m providing a transcript so you can see it for yourself:
Councilmember Pierzchala: On next week’s tentative agenda, Item Number 11…this is Glenview Mansion, it’s listed as 45 minutes and I’m not sure why. I am planning to vote to Authorize to File and get a Public Hearing going, and I’d rather have staff presentations and whoever is for, whoever is against, all at one point, and where we can ask questions, and so I’m just wondering why we need 45 minutes for next week.
City Manager Ullery: I would agree with you. I don’t think that item requires 45 minutes.
Mayor Marcuccio: Well, is there someone who requested 45 minutes?
City Manager Ullery: It probably came in through the agenda from Rec and Parks department. I think we can probably do it in 20 minutes. Continue reading →