Wednesday, February 25, 2004
The Sunnyside City Council is wasting its time scouring the countryside for a new city manager. The perfect hire is currently sitting at city hall.
Interim City Manager Mark Kunkler would be my choice to serve as the new city manager for Sunnyside.
Why break in someone new for the position, teach them all the ropes, the ins and outs of the job to only have them leave in a couple of years.
Kunkler has worked for the city for nearly a decade in different positions, city attorney and assistant city manager. Kunkler has served a few times as interim city manager while the Council has searched for a replacement.
For all those who don't know, Kunkler does live in the Upper Valley. We can throw eggs at his car later. I am just joking, Mark. But I can't think of another person who could just come in and assume the city manager position without much of a problem. Heck, Kunkler is doing the job right now.
Yes, I do realize it would be better to have a city manager who lives in Sunnyside. But Kunkler would do a fantastic job. Why can't we give him a chance? To me, it doesn't matter that Kunkler lives in the Upper Valley because he is just as much a part of Sunnyside as any resident.
From what I know of Kunkler he also has a great love for our city and its residents.
Kunkler knows his stuff. And it appears that most of the city staff, or what is left of the city staff, also has respect for Kunkler and the way he operates.
My advice to the Sunnyside City Council is to stop looking for a city manager because there is one right in front of you. A good, quality individual who would greatly benefit the city and its residents. Make the wise choice.
In the same vein, since Pete Squires is leaving as city planning director to go to work in West Richland, why not contract out to perform his duties? Planning and development services is right up the alley of Sunnyside Inc. I think Marshall Doak, the Sunnyside Inc. director, would make a great city planner, he has the vision and the knowledge. I know there are some gray areas that would have to be ironed out, but what could be wrong with it? It would more than likely cost the city less than hiring a new planning director.
Also, I want to touch on the relationship with city employees. Witnessing the sometimes weekly battle of words between the city employees and Council does become tiresome.
I am very much in favor of Councilman Don Vlieger's proposal to make most all parts of the collective bargaining process public. The community has a right to know what is going on. I think city and government employees, with a few exceptions, are some of the most overpaid people. Vlieger is right, the collective bargaining process will eventually bankrupt cities.
What I am not in favor of are comments by councilmen such as, firefighters are a dime a dozen.
Employees should be valued. But on the same hand, employees don't have a right to take advantage of their employers. All employers, though, need to learn nothing is gained by micro-managing. If employees are doing their jobs, leave them alone. No employer has a right to make an employee feel like they are not worthy, wanted or needed. If that is the case, the employer or manager should be fired. A lot of times an employer forgets that a happy employee means a happy work place. Employers don't have to give up the world to an employee, but an employee shouldn't come to work everyday wishing they were somewhere else.
If an employer treasures an employee, the employee will treasure the job. Is that so hard to understand?