Letter to the Editor: The Truth is Out There by Charles James
You know that looking behind the scenes of political decisions for truth often require respecting confidentiality of news sources. It also requires making judgment calls on whether or not those sources are credible and whether or not the information is actually truthful, important and worth pursuing.
Two reliable sources gave conflicting views of the hiring process and decision-making involved in recently selecting the new Bishop City Administrator. One insisted a past incident involving an outside candidate (widely-reported on the Internet) played no role whatsoever in the final decision and that the candidate was upfront and candid from the very beginning of the process. Another source said that, “yes, the incident did play a role, but it was not the deciding factor” and that it was taken into account as were many other factors.
The past played a role in another way as well: The rush to replace the city’s 30-year City Administrator Rick Pucci in September of 2010 ended poorly when his replacement, Jim Southworth, was abruptly placed on administrative leave and then quickly resigned only ten-months into his 5-year agreement. Three of the five current council members dealt with the mess and did not want a recurrence. Council members are very aware of the saying, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” They were determined to do their homework however long it took, hence the long process.
There are five individuals on the city council. They are not all alike nor do they respond to pressure and influence the same way despite the “Stepford Wives” conspiracy theory advanced by some online that this was just another case of “some old local business men” pressuring them and the “city council …just looking out for themselves.”
While council members may well share many of the same views– even vote the same way– on many matters before them, it is just as likely he or she may hold divergent views. And even then, even for different reasons, the result might be voting the same as other council members. This is how a representative democracy works and how decisions are supposed to be made. It is often a hard and messy process.
The unanimous vote on the new City Administrator was a consensus on “who to hire”; not proof that all five council members voted “yes” for the same reasons.
While considered healthy to be vigilant, skeptical or even cynical in a democracy, spreading false rumors, making unfounded personal attacks, and “Just plain making stuff up,” isn’t.
Remember: The truth is out there.
Often from a “reliable source.