Friday, October 26, 2007


I don’t work for City government, but I do know many of the top-notch public service professionals who do. Sure there are some people there who need to find something more suited but no more or less than any organization, large or small.

I know City government professionals hold themselves to a higher standard and no one more than the City Manager. Let’s not kid ourselves--Durham couldn’t function for 10 minutes, let alone be one of the top places in the nation to live and do business, were it not for City government.

Water, sanitation, fire, police, parks, streets... so why is it that when the City of Durham makes a mistake, people turn into playground bullies and treat it differently than similar gaffes in any organization, including other cities and towns? Even some officials we hope would protect and foster that organization feel the need to pile on.

Let’s get real and get off the City Manager’s back. Let him do his job. Let him make the changes he’s trying to make. Let’s not distract him every 10 minutes with hyperbole and finger-pointing. He’s the chief executive under our City’s charter, and he deserves respect. He has more innate understanding of management in his little finger than some of his critics do. Even if he didn’t, who deserves public humiliation with condescending remarks, like sending him to management school?

And the next time a finger even twitches to the pointing position, let’s demand that person walk a day in his shoes... better yet, let’s make the punishment for acting superior a day working the counter at McDonald’s. I can guarantee that would instill humility and an appreciation for what it takes to make things work that are taken for granted every day.

And yes, that includes news media from other communities and non-resident louts around the water cooler who feel safe to cop an attitude with Durham that they obviously don’t dare take in their hometown.

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