When was the last time you heard the City Manager asking the City Commission a question at a Commission meeting? A real question?
When was the last time you heard an active discussion about different ways to approach a problem, out in public?
That’s the beginning of the reason Dayton is failing to instill confidence in business. The other, is that we can’t clearly put a city manager in charge without meddling by a part-time Mayor who makes it a full time job to stick her nose in where it doesn’t belong.
Rashad Young has had an opportunity to prove himself, and prove himself he has: We’re mediocre, and that doesn’t cut it. While balancing a budget may seem an accomplishment (and it’s required by law), there are many other areas where he gets a big fat FAIL.
Take this article in the Dayton Business Journal- where business after business says the exact same thing: The city isn’t business friendly:
Regional officials acknowledge a pervasive view exists in the business community that it is hard to work with the city. They add there also is an underlying lack of confidence in city leadership, both elected and hired, to overcome the challenges that lay before it, no matter how much effort is given….
Despite the criticism, Dayton City Manager Rashad Young said he is working hard to make a difference, but the city is facing some challenging issues. Young said the business owners and executives he interacts with are, by and large, satisfied.
“I don’t think, between the business community and the city, there is bad blood,” Young said.
He said given the social and economic issues of the city, it is hard for people outside the city manager’s office to understand the challenge of progress.
“I cannot pick up and change the social and economic factors of the people in my city,” Young said. “I don’t think people care that the challenges have been here for a generation. People don’t care why it is broken, they care that it gets fixed.”…
However, Dayton Commissioner Matt Joseph credits Young with working hard to improve Dayton’s customer service.
One thing the city can do better, Joseph said, is communicate success stories and elicit positive testimonials from satisfied customers.
He said short-term negativity is hard to counteract, and the commission has taken a long-term approach.
“There is only one way: That is to spend the next 10 years giving good customer service, because once people have this perception in their mind, it stays there,” Joseph said.
As with any organization, there is room for improvement, Joseph and Young said.
Some people look at challenges and say they can’t be overcome, others look and see opportunity. If Rashad Young can’t change the social and economic factors of the city, then he shouldn’t be in a leadership position– it’s quite frankly his job to do those things. And regarding Joseph’s comment, good customer service shouldn’t take 10 years to achieve– that’s absurd. We need it yesterday.
I’ve been working on a plan to restructure the delivery of service to neighborhoods, actively engaging each neighborhood to reach goals and objectives that will help allocate our limited resources. I’ll be releasing it closer to the election, but, if you’ve been reading and participating, you’ll recognize a lot of it from previous posts.
It’s time to reinvent the way we run our city. It’s time to reconsider what we get for $125K a year city manager and ask “Are we simply getting what we pay for?” Would we be better off paying $200K+ and getting a person of the caliber of Col Colleen Ryan of the Dayton Development Coalition? She’s well respected by both the business community and the base people, and has managed an operation (WPAFB) which compares to Dayton in complexity.
Until voters start asking real questions on what kind of city they expect, we’ll never get the city we deserve. Our first step is to get a city manager who doesn’t blame his lack of progress on what we’ve got left of our city. If you can’t make it better, we need to find someone who can. Saying you can’t change things means you’ve lost hope, and that’s not what our city needs. We need someone who can clearly communicate a vision of the future- and pay them well to do it. If given a choice between Mr. Young and someone like Ms. Ryan, I believe we’d see a cataclysmic positive change in where Dayton is headed- hopefully with the clueless mayor standing to the sidelines and letting the real talent take the helm. Instead we have a mortician putting the finishing touches on our city’s funeral, wearing an appropriate hat for the occasion.