City managers are 'hired to be fired' 


One comment about your recent article on the city manager's search. First: I believe that Major Johnson has badly messed up this search for a new city manager and unfortunately has shredded most of the goodwill he's built up over the last seven years as well, because of a badly considered desire to "make history."

But in your description of the other candidates and their past issues, I think you've stated an unintentional calumny against them in your emphasis on the "problems" that they have in their backgrounds.

As the former city manager for Tybee Island, I can attest that being a city manager is a high wire act, performed before varying audiences with different investments in your success or failure.

One of the traps of municipal management is that unlike the Federal or State levels, city governments are often less specific on what constitutes "proper" or "improper" use of funds, awarding of contracts, or hiring of staff.

During my 18 months at Tybee, every major decision I made, and most minor ones as well, seemed to generate a "winner" and a "loser," with no regard for the concept that the city's overall interests should trump individual factions' interests.

In short, there is no such thing as a blemish-free city manager, unless he or she has been a total nebbish. Managers have to lead and at the city level this phrase is all too true: "Friends may come and go, but enemies tend to accumulate."

Savannah's history of only two city managers over the last what; 30 years? is NOT the norm. Most other places are far more volatile and local politicians are seldom very honest about the real issues that led to the dismissal of a city manager.

We're like football coaches; we're hired to be fired.

Hopefully this process will end with a decision to restart it, this time using the International City Manager Association and the Georgia Municipal League to help search for a varied field of qualified candidates. Time will tell.

Tom Cannon



More by our readers

About The Author

our readers


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Connect Today 01.18.2018

Latest in Letters

  • The write gift

    One ingenious kid brought in some rum balls so strong, so lethal, I called off homework that Wednesday after eating just three. 100s for everyone!
    • Dec 20, 2017
  • Reader feedback: Dig deeper into City of Savannah finances

    Make officials explain how their political decisions and policy changes led the community to this point.
    • Nov 22, 2017
  • An open letter to Savannah about crime and punishment

    Does the police department, or the Mayor's office seek to know us, to reward us with some gesture of support for our plight, some acknowledgement that we very much matter to the level of success and peacefulness that does exists in Savannah?
    • Nov 8, 2017
  • More »

The Most: Read | Shared | Comments

Right Now On: Twitter | Facebook

Copyright © 2018, Connect Savannah. All Rights Reserved.
Website powered by Foundation