Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cliff Krieger and Joe Smith on City Life

I just got done watching the recent episode of City Life that featured Cliff Krieger and Joe Smith of Move Lowell Forward, flanked by co-hosts Bob Hatem and George Anthes.

There weren't many softballs thrown or punches pulled.

From the beginning, Krieger and Smith were asked repeatedly about the PAC's non-endorsement of Rodney Elliott (this came up again during a phone-in question from "Brookside Tom" Wirtanen), specifically in light of the fact that Elliott was the only sitting councilor to return the MLF questionnaire but not receive the group's endorsement.

George Anthes made a few references to the recent endorsement of Fred Doyle by State Sen. Panagiotakis, noting that the State Senator's clout and personal reputation gave tremendous weight to the endorsement. He asked for the group to offer more information about who was behind the endorsements.

Bob Hatem's main point was that he hopes to see MLF focus less on local candidates and endorsements thereof, but more on the full-time people who are hired to run the city, and how well they perform those duties. Hatem also repeatedly expressed a desire to see the group focus on private sector-led economic development down the road.

As the group states in their official literature and on their website, they are more in favor of professional city management than they are for any individual personality involved in the process. The goal of having longer-term managers (relative to the terms of councilors) was stated by Krieger as being more desirable than the current status quo, in which we tend to have longer-term councilors here in the city who outlive the city managers. Krieger compared that to the role of civilians in the Defense Department, who, unlike military leaders, do not rotate positions every couple of years, and therefore bring continuity to their departments. A comparison was also drawn to Cambridge, where Bob Healy has served continuously for more than two decades in a professional managerial role. Smith described Cambridge as "the best-managed city in the Commonwealth."

No comments: