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Fear and Loathing in Waynesboro column by Chris Graham

I really want to be giggles happy about the news from last night’s city-council meeting that has city council discussing hiring a search firm to hire a new city manager. Really, I do.

The talk behind the scenes in the walkup to and the aftermath of the effective firing of city manager Doug Walker last month had things moving in a much different direction – everything from the hiring of one of the power players who helped engineer Walker’s ouster to the recruitment of a former controversial city manager who then surprised his current employers by abruptly resigning his post in the hours after Walker was pushed out the door.

So now we’re talking about hiring a search firm to lead a professional effort to replace Walker. I want to offer kudos to the city council for moving in this direction, but I’m hesitant.

You can probably guess why.

“I, basically, want a city manager to give me the facts, not his opinions or lobbying for a particular cause or position,” would-be-mayor Tim Williams told The News Virginian after last night’s city-council meeting.

Leaving me to wonder – are they not yet to listening to us? I have to ask, because the response to the Walker dismissal has been pretty overwhelming, and none of it has been positive for the new council majority that is still three weeks away from taking office. Even hard-core conservatives are saying that they think they made a mistake in electing the Tim Williams-Frank Lucente-Bruce Allen troika last month, and one with the ability to make things happen has talked openly with me about what can be done to institute what amounts to a voter-initiated recall of the three.

I read last night’s discussion of the beginning of a search process that will lead to the seating of a new city manager as being an indication that the ultras were getting it, and loud and clear at that.

And then Williams goes off foaming at the mouth about wanting a city manager to “give me the facts, not his opinions or lobbying for a particular cause or position.” That will sure make it easier for us to hire a new city manager, with all interested parties now well aware that their professional judgment on matters like how to best go about putting bids out to contract and dealing with potential economic-development interests and various and sundry other things that come up in the day-to-day operations of a city government will not be valued.

I mean, seriously, I can’t wait to see the neutered talent pool that we’re going to get. And I can only imagine the ad that we’re going to be putting out there for the world to see.

Leave whatever is left from your ego where you are now and come to the River City. Spend the next four years undoing what your predecessor did in the previous five and a half. No heavy lifting required; we have people who meet in backrooms who will do all of that for you. Candidates without spines preferred. Salary negotiable, but we thought the previous guy was overpaid at $125,000, so don’t expect much.

And to think, I had started the day wanting to be all positive …

augusta free press
augusta free press