Monday, August 22, 2005

Whose Performance are We Measuring?

The hot discussion surrounding our City Manager’s performance over the two recent issues (sewage spill and Orange Dolphin) seems to have moderated for the time being, while McNees spends a week away from Sarasota scaling peaks in Wyoming (must pay attention to detail and don't gamble while engaging in this activity). We hope that the commissioners take a measured look at his performance. If there were no standards for the manager, then we would like to know why? Our expectation of the commissioners is no less than their expectation of the manager.

As this story continues to its conclusion we hope to see those responsible take a hard look at themselves as well as those working for them. Were the expectations spelled out and were they reviewed for progress? Is the process for doing this open? We believe we have some of the answers to the sewage spill issue at least at the lower levels of the organization, but what was the responsibility at the commission level? How was this handled? Are there procedures, reviews or audits needed at this level?

Similar questions can be posed for the parking lot issue. Is there not an accepted, professional way to acquire property - even in a "hot" real estate market? Do we have the skills and knowledge in house or should we find that expertise outside? What is our policy on property acquisition? Is it working the way it needs to work under today's conditions? To improve, we will need change at all levels of city government, not just the bottom or middle or close to the top.

We have high expectations of our commissioners. They must be competent and work together to find ways to make Sarasota's health, welfare and safety achieve the highest standards. Stumbling like we have seen recently does not inspire confidence. If we can learn from mistakes, change how we operate and communicate with all stakeholders, progress can be made. If not, maybe some new players need to be found for the team.

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