Tucson city manager resigns effective one year from now….new definition of chutzpahby Hugh Holub on Sep. 06, 2011, under politics
Michael Letcher, Tucson City Manager, resigned effective August 2012.
That’s right…his resignation is effective one year from now.
If that is not an excellent example of what has been wrong with the city of Tucson, if the Mayor and Council accept this resignation on those outrageous terms than you all really will understand what’s wrong with Tucson’s city government.
Tucson government basics: The city has 6 council members and a mayor. The mayor runs meeting and votes only to break a tie.
The Tucson charter puts the city council in charge of city policy…and implementing city policy is put in the hands of a city manager. The city council hires and fire the city manager who serves at the will of the city council majority.
Basically the city council is supposed to tell the city manager what the council wants done, and leave the administration of that up to the city manager and city staff.
However, in the 1980s the city manager’s office usurped the policy role of the city council because Tucson’s elected officials were so busy mired in trivial pursuits, they wouldn’t understand “policy” if it ran them over on the street.
The policy options of the city council were manipulated by the city manager’s office. Elected city officials were never given all options, nor any kind of realistic views of the pros and cons of all possible policy options.
This is how the city ended up pissing away $230 million on Rio Nuevo with virtually nothing to show for it.
This is how the city’s ParkWise program has ended up as another scandal.
This is how the city can’t avoid feeding oleanders to its giraffes.
There is no one at the top of the pyramid saying this is what needs to be done and this better be done right or we’ll fire your ass.
Letcher has no civil service protection. At best he gets a few month severance pay if the council terminates him immediately. They should.
Between now and January the city can be run with an acting city manager until the election sort things out.
It is time for a sea change at city hall…which will only come if Republicans get two more council seats and the mayor’s chair. Three Democrats and three Republicans puts Rick Grinnell, if he is the next mayor, as the deciding vote.
Or, Tucson can continue to work really hard being a third class city run by Democrats who could care less what happens in Tucson east of Alvernon.
Letcher notes in his resignmation email:
Unfortunately, I cannot change the current political and media climate in this community that focus more on blame than resolution. I know now that I can only go so far in changing the organizational climate of the city that has not seen consistent City Management since Joel Valdez.
Yep….and I worked for Joel Valdez 1974 to 1978 and here’s what Mr. Letcher is missing…..remember there was a police fire strike, and a recall over water rates in that time frame?
But Lew Murphy held solid as Mayor and Joel Valdez held solid as city manager.
Why was that”?
First Murphy had a vision for Tucson and knew his way around even though the council majority shifted radically.He could get things done even if his majority Democrats fought. Muprhy was the last leader Mayor Tucson has had. He made it his point to know everything Valdez was up to and supported Joel to the ends of the earth.
When the majority Democrats drove the city off the cliff with their screwed up water rate hikes Valdez reconstructed the process by which city water rates were figured out…taking away the staff control over the process and putting more community input into the decision.
The city busted the police fire strike.
Ever since then Tucson has had a series of weak minded liberal mayors who pandered to all sorts of fringe issue communities and let the city continue to wrap itself in a spiderweb nightmare of regiulatory bullcrap. The staff took over the city.
Valdez ran the city for the benefit of the people…and even if he couldn’t count to four, he did what was right.
Since then city managers have pandered for votes from officer holders with no vision of the entire city. These office holders have been too easly dazzled with statistics and expensive out-of-town consultants. City management in Tucson has become a medicine show act.
Anoither thing Valdezx diud that subsequent managers did not…Joel had a Deputyt city manager named Bill Ealy who ran all the infrastructure side of the city…public works, water…and Joel oversaw the services side of the city. There were not a lot of assistant managers.
Ealy was also Joel’s Enforcer. People feared Ealy. Screw up in a department and he’d have the department head in his office in a second, and if that department head didn’t fix the situation, he or she was gone.
Now when something screws up down the ranks there will be a study commission that will wander around until the offending staffer leaves town for a better job somewhere else.
Tucson needs a city manager who has an ax in the corner of his or her office and who will be able to use it without some city council member throwing a snit fit.