2020 City Manager Selection
I'm trying to understand the logic behind what I am hearing people say in the wake of our City Manager announcing her resignation. Some other things also need to be cleared up.
First, this announcement was no shock to any of us currently serving. When she came out of retirement to serve here in Doraville in 2017 as an interim City Manager, she said her intention was to work 2 or 3 years at most. It's been over 2 years, and she has hinted to us several times some life events/changes might bring about her leaving us as early as the end of this year. I can personally say that in her time here, she has done a great job helping us as a city get settled and reorganized. The city was in an unstable place when she arrived here, due to a sudden loss of our city manager and subsequent loss of several department heads, and she has done a great job resolving that situation. I've thoroughly enjoyed working with her.
Remember: initially she was just here as an interim City Manager hired in the summer of 2017 for 6 months. But because the previous council didn't follow through in searching for a new City Manager for the last six months they were in office, the new council walked into a "interim situation", plus the majority of Department Head positions were also vacant. The past council hadn't really even started the search/interview process in ernest and we were under the gun to deal with this, some of us with no experience or training on how government operates. We did feel that some stability to the city staff was desperately needed, so rather than start a 4-6 month search process in Jan of 2018, we voted to hire the interim City Manager.
So fast forward two years, we have people "demanding" the present council sit on their hands and do nothing until the first of the year. I have no intention of doing to the next council what was done to me. I know what that feels like, and it would be a dereliction of my duties to abide by this small vocal group's demands. These same people, who proclaim we are doing nothing, now are saying "We want you to do nothing". Why would we do that?
Half of the incoming city council are going to be new people who have never held public office, nor have they had any training whatsoever. And at this time, we don't even have an interim City Manager lined up for Jan 1st (it's been less than a week since her announcement). This would be a worse situation than I walked into!
So their "plan" is: for the present council to do nothing, and throw these new council members into the fire, expect them to start at ground zero in the process, possibly have no acting City Manager at city hall on January 1st, and expect this to yield the best results on finding the right person to help us lead the city into the future? I get this is campaign season... but seriously, there is no way this is the right path to take.
I personally have experienced this scenario and I have no intention in repeating this mistake. I’m going to do everything I can to move this process and our city forward, so the new council has a good footing to begin their terms. It’s likely they will still be faced with choosing the actual new City Manager, but for us to do nothing for the next 4 months? To wait to even hire the interim City Manager? I have no intention of doing that.
Stephe Koontz, Doraville City Council District 3
678-373-7021 City Cell