“A” people hire “A” people, “B” people hire “C” people: why taxpayers pay for national searches

The Montgomery County Commission is planning to hire a national search firm to help them find a new county administrator to replace Deb Feldman. They should send her the search bill, considering she’s been in charge for almost ten years and doesn’t have several people ready for the commission to choose from. Better yet, it should come out of the commissioners’ pay- since they didn’t direct her to make sure she had a successor groomed.

I just came back from my kids’ school. They are getting a new principal. She was a vice principal under David Lawrence at Thurgood Marshall High School. To give you an indication of leadership skills- he was a Dayton Public Schools principal for 3 years, and this is the third assistant principal he groomed to become a principal. That’s how the pros do it.

The headline of this post was attributed to Steve Jobs- I don’t know if he was the first to say it or not, but I think it tells you a lot about an organization: “A” people hire “A” people, “B” people hire “C” people.

The reason Montgomery County isn’t able to move regional cooperation forward is that no one is willing to hire an “A” person in the region. Same goes for Dayton- although, Tim Riordan was an “A” person on the bench- who had to leave and be hired back to get respect (as did Mr. Lawrence). This isn’t a post about politics- it’s a post about what makes any organization effective. If you are afraid to hire someone who may be better than you- you aren’t doing the organization or yourself in the long run any good.

When it comes to electing people, we’re stuck with limited choices thanks to our screwed up political system which puts money and soundbite politics ahead of intelligence and vision. However, the whole idea of the city manager form of government was to hire smart executives to transcend the vagaries of elections- it’s time we start seeing some professionals in positions of power step up to the plate and show us what they can do- despite having a board of directors made up of populists and peacocks.

If Joe Tuss isn’t ready to lead Montgomery County as the full time administrator right now, he shouldn’t be the interim either. We’ve got real work to get done- we don’t have time for a beauty pageant.

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