110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
posted Jan 13, 2011 - 12:09:43pm
Whether or not you supported John Masiarczyk’s comeback bid for mayor in Deltona, surely you agree it was nice to hear calm reason from the dais recently when the Deltona City Commission debated the city manager’s future.
Masiarczyk calmed the debate and pointed responsibility for the city’s troubles squarely where it belongs: on the City Commission.
Commissioner Zenaida Denizac had come out swinging against City Manager Faith Miller, reciting a list of wrongs, and ultimately moving to fire Miller.
The last straw for Denizac, apparently, was the installation of a sign designating Thornby Park, before the City Commission had a chance to discuss what the new park should be named.
Another item on Denizac’s list was Miller’s expenditure of $10,000 to investigate whether Commissioner Herb Zischkau violated the city charter while he was complaining about Deltona overpaying for 19 acres of land — an expenditure Miller supported.
There’s no question that when you’ve got a city manager investigating a city commissioner, you’ve got a troubled city. But firing the city manager — and tossing your city into the expensive chaos of a leadership vacuum and a manager search — is not necessarily the way to fix those troubles.
“I think change is needed, but it starts at this dais,” Mayor Masiarczyk said.
These are wise words, indeed. A manager who doesn’t have clear direction from his or her bosses is working with a serious handicap.
In Deltona, the manager’s seven bosses on the City Commission have been sharply divided, four to three, for some time.
Odds are, anything Miller does will displease at least three city commissioners.
The odds of Miller getting clear direction from the sharply divided commission aren’t good. The $10,000 investigation of Zischkau, for example, was an expenditure approved by the City Commission!
Change is needed, but as the mayor says, it must start with the City Commission. It probably will have to start with Masiarczyk himself, as he works to lead commissioners toward more policymaking and goal-setting, and less bickering.
We’re not suggesting the City Commission move in lock step, or that differing views are always bad. We are suggesting commissioners must find a way to work together for the city’s sake, in a manner that honors varying views without going to war over them.
In October, City Manager Faith Miller got high marks from the Deltona City Commission on her annual evaluation, and praise for her work on the city budget during difficult times. Firing her three months later hardly seems reasoned.
Miller could fail at carrying out the direction of the Deltona City Commission, or be unwilling to do so, and a parting could be the best course of action for the city’s sake. To find out, however, city commissioners will have to give her some direction to follow.
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