For a while there the skies even parted for us. This past Sunday's annual Picnic in the Park was threatened by a nasty rainstorm, but apparently it was just our lucky week.

The rain moved on and a perfect circle of clear sky hovered over Forsyth Park so that we could enjoy the remarkable collection of local talent - did I mention local talent - that treated the huge crowd to one of the best Picnics in the Park, well, ever.

Is it possible that the heavens have such little to do that they would smile on Savannah for finally getting rid of our awful city manager Rochelle Small-Toney, who almost single-handedly wrecked the entire city government and put us perilously close to being front-page national news?

Perhaps I'm reading too much into things. Wouldn't be the first time.

In any case, Mayor Edna Jackson sounded positively giddy while introducing the Picnic main event. Local folks will long remember her statement the Thursday before, the day of the City Council meeting in which six of your nine aldermen voted to accept Small-Toney's resignation.

In what will likely be marked as Jackson's first real shining moment as mayor, she addressed the City Hall chamber:

This is a beginning again for all of us... not a black Savannah or a white Savannah, but a united Savannah that must stay together for the good of all people.

And so we move on. I was struck, and positively so, by how quickly the gathered rage at Small-Toney seemed to dissipate once the vote to oust her was finalized.

I expected more gnashing of teeth, but people seemed ready, that very moment, to breathe a big sigh of relief and move on.

And so the next chapter begins of finding a new permanent city manager, longtime City employee Stephanie Cutter having been appointed unanimously to fill the role, likely in a temporary manner.

I've gotten a kick out of the usual backward-looking Savannah media voices hearkening back to the "good old days," calling for the return of former Assistant City Manager Chris Morrill or even of former City Manager Michael Brown.

Not to knock either of those men, but the predictable mating calls from Savannah's old guard for them to drop what they're doing and hurry back down here to rescue us from ourselves border on the pathetic.

I try to tell people, ever so gently, that once you move away from Savannah the spell is usually broken. I try to tell people there's a big wide world out there, one that doesn't end at the outskirts of Chatham County. But to little avail...

So I suspect the next chapter in finding a good, or even quasi-decent, city manager will be hampered with some of the old small-minded thinking. But I do think, as the mayor says, we've all learned a valuable lesson, one that will no doubt come in handy in the months to come.





About The Author

Jim Morekis

Jim Morekis

A native Savannahian, Jim has been editor-in-chief of Connect Savannah for ten years. The University of Georgia graduate is also a travel writer, authoring regional guides in the Moon handbook series... more

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