Commentary

Voters speak loud and clear; time for council to act

An election blowout! The election was not a nailbiter and certainly did not have a razor’s edge finish as one of the losing mayoral candidates attested on Election Day — it was a total repudiation of previous administrations.

The mayor’s race and the council races were not even close. The citizens of Greenville spoke loud and clear — out with the old, in with the new. What happened?

For one, the common folks — the folks ignored by previous councils — came out in droves to drive these incumbent politicians out. They have had enough of cozy, self-serving relationships between their elected officials and paid city staff, enough wasteful spending on useless studies, enough self-serving decisions by GUC and useless ineffective commission boards — enough of enough.

They said, in their vote, let’s get some young blood in charge, let’s make Greenville and Pitt County relevant again!

Like this new, exciting 21st-century E “newspaper” the Post, the citizens want an exciting Pitt-Greenville metroplex, not more of the same bureaucratic nonsense of the past 10 years. The voters’ message was clear — DO IT.

But what is “it”? “It” is returning to the strengths that Greenville possessed and somehow lost. Quality of life and the huge advantages of a small metro area are just two of the strengths.

But first we must sync city management to these goals. This will not be easy. City management thought it had all the answers and the citizens were ignorant. That culture is arrogant and ineffective and has been the culture of the city management and staff for years, even decades, and that attitude must change.

Our city manager, all $190,000 of her, must be in charge and held accountable by the City Council for the citizens. The department managers and the employees are NOT in charge. These groups either shape up with the citizens’ goals or ship them out. Some managers may need to retire (leave), but get them gone.

The city manager must have heavy guidance from the City Council and mayor, and she must be held accountable. The manager reports to the council, not vice versa.

At such a high salary, it’s time for solid production from the top dog. Where do we look for changes? In the next few months, this column will examine all these city areas, including the GUC relationship, the continuous management problems in public works, the lack of transparency, and the crutch of city management in using expensive studies that go nowhere. We will look at it all and report it to you in this column.

Best of luck to the winners — you worked hard and deserve the votes of confidence by the citizens. A word of advice, however — Don’t blow it! Get moving on changes.

P.S. Pitt County officials, you are next – your day is quickly approaching for a culture change brought on by the citizens.

Comments welcome: email [email protected]

 

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