Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Earlier this month, Reading swore in a new mayor. The last post he held was that of city council president. During his reign, he went out of his way to ensure that council was as resistant to everything and anything the mayor attempted to do. Or that’s how it appeared from my outsider’s point of view.
So now he’s mayor. What’s one of the first things he does? Pulls a stunt over the weekend that can do nothing but alienate city council. He’s instated a gag order on all city employees that, if violated, could result in the culprit being fired. None of them can discuss anything with any sort of media personnel without the express consent of the brand new communications director. Of course, exceptions will supposedly be made for the city auditor, city clerk, city council to a certain extent, and some things concern the police and fire departments. The new mayor claims his new policy is to form a mutually beneficial relationship with the media and keep citizens well informed but it seems that is in question.
Why? Well, until last weekend the position of communications director didn’t exist. The mayor created it all by his lonesome and appointed a part time, temporary staffer of his choosing. The problem is, as I understand it from this morning’s radio broadcast, that the city charter prohibits any new positions to be formed without the involvement and approval of city council. The member of council who made that statement, yes, to the media and, just my guess here, without consent of the communications director, is verifying that with the charter board so I’m sure this story will be continued tomorrow. I have the impression that such a position would need to be applied for with resumes and qualifications reviewed though that is just another guess from a tidbit I heard on the news.
Yep, silly me. I thought that perhaps this mayor’s formerly be one of the council might make a difference and things could begin to improve around here. Wrong!