DBJ profiles Mayor Leitzell- labels me a detractor (not so)

The story won’t be available to the masses online for another week- but for those of you who subscribe to the Dayton Business Journal you can read the front-page story by Joe Cogliano looking back at Gary Leitzell’s first year as mayor.

Gary likes to call himself a problem solver- and prefers to work discreetly. And while it’s often forgotten, he’s only 1 vote with no veto power on a commission of 5, so it’s not like he’s been handed a very big hammer to rebuild a house that’s been suffering from years of inept leadership and management.

Truth is- Gary’s done a great job- but, we have to remember, the bar was lowered pretty low by our last mayor, and our commission isn’t exactly made up of out-of-the-box, risk-takers. In fact, collectively they are the least ambitious bunch of people we could have “elected.” The number of unanimous decisions is mind-boggling, and when there is any dissent, it’s usually for very wrong reasons (the equal protection ordinance comes to mind- where Lovelace voted no- and Williams abstained).

But, the article was about Gary- and when Cogliano called- I had to ask, why me? He said I was the first (and apparently only) person he thought of  who would go on the record with something contrarian. In Dayton- a lot of people will say all kinds of crap behind your back, but few have the balls to say it on the record- hence, we almost always fail debate 101 and go for the consensus opinion on everything.

I am disappointed with Gary on how little he’s used his blog since getting elected. Not that he’s ever been a really prolific blogger- but, mostly he’s used it since the election to lash out at the DDN (I know you’re thinking- Esrati is one to talk). I had hoped he’d open up the frustrations in City Hall to public discussion online- and solicit more views, hasn’t happened.

When it comes to the push for regionalization- there has been nothing out of his office. Dan Foley seems to be the only elected leader talking about it- and he almost got beat by an Oakwood housewife (I’m saying that out of jest – I respect Jan Kelly and thought she would be a great addition to the County  Commission).

A quiet challenge to the city staff about finding alternatives to raising trash fees- unless we improve service isn’t exactly going to set the world on fire. We’ve seen zero substantive  legislation forwarded from the mayor- or the commission for that matter. The commission is a legislative body – after all.

The role of mayor is a leadership position. That’s why the extra $10K a year. Yet business leaders I’ve spoken to haven’t heard a leader speak. As much as I detest Mike Turner- when he spoke or met with business leaders- they came away feeling optimistic about our future. We need the same from Mayor Leitzell. As I say in the DBJ piece- “Generals wear stars for a reason and they show them for a reason. He’s failed to pull rank and say who is in charge”- even if he was to push the leadership role to the city manager- and put him on point (as it should be).

What should we expect? What would make a difference?

  • Most important starting point: figure out a way to hire replacement police and fire personnel. Either change the rules so we can hire using a rule of 10- or make it possible to hire from other departments. Newark, N.J., just laid off 167 experienced officers– and we can’t hire a single one.
  • Our priority board system is an extra layer of bureaucracy that separates the people from power- it’s time to cut the staff- and divert the money directly to the neighborhoods. If people on our current managerial team can’t each be assigned neighborhoods to mentor and develop as part of their responsibilities- we need new management in City Hall. It’s time to make sure that City Hall makes direct connections with the citizens who are left- so that we can start rebuilding.
  • Leitzell talks about starting small businesses- and our growing immigrant population, but we’ve not actually put a campaign in place to start recruiting inbound migration. Leitzell talks about the Turkish refugees, but have we hired anyone who speaks Turkish to help support a budding community? While we’ve had a growing Spanish-speaking population- the city website doesn’t have a word of Spanish on the front page- why don’t we have a Spanish-speaking ombudsman at least?

Solving problems is mostly a retroactive process- we’ve got a future that needs a visionary. It’s time for Mayor Leitzell to start painting the road map to a brighter future for all. We know he can paint miniatures- let’s see his big picture emerge in 2011.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed! If you wish to support this blog, please head over and use our services at The Next Wave Printing for all your printing needs. We have 4 Color Business cards starting at just $13.50.

4 Responses

  1. jay madewell December 25, 2010 / 2:46 pm
    let’s stick w/english, please- i wouldn’t expect to be able to communicate w/anyone in turkey w/o learning turkish… 

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. Joe Cogliano December 25, 2010 / 9:05 pm
    I’ll admit that “critic” would have probably been a better choice of words than “detractor”

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. Patrick Flanagan December 26, 2010 / 10:57 pm
    The Mayor says it’s a part time job, but he’s getting paid a full time salary.  Most working people in Dayton only make $28,000 a yr.  It would be nice to see him work more then 3 days a week.  Maybe he’s just a lazy ass!

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. Gary December 27, 2010 / 2:20 pm
    I think if the current Mayor and the City Manager traded places, Dayton may see a prosperous future soon!

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *