Mayor Garner’s reforming zeal?


To this morning’s correspondent:

I wasn’t sure whether your thoughts were intended for posting in their entirety, so I erred on the side of caution and did not do so. Your argument is appreciated.

I’ve carefully re-read my postings on the broad topic of the city of New Albany, its Mayor, his appointments and the building inspection process, and have concluded that you must have read the Courier-Journal’s editorial on the recent “unpleasantness” and based your observations on this, not anything I’ve written.

That’s certainly fair, as I wouldn’t have reprinted the CJ editorial if I didn’t see merit in it.

My questions would be:

If reform of the inspections department “mess” were Mayor Garner’s original intent, then why proceed toward this worthy goal of attacking entrenched interests (and “business” as usual) by appointing a 71-year-old builder who by all accounts lacks proper inspection certification and won’t any time soon be confused with Donald Rumsfeld in terms of revolutionary qualifications on the part of the elderly?

Wouldn’t a younger (educated, certified, perhaps with a legal background) make more sense?

With respect to Mr. Hancock’s mode of departure, I believe that he first was transferred from his original position to one that did not exist as the Mayor hastily reshuffled the deck. The new position was to have something to do with keeping alleyways clean, but before any of this could be finalized, Hancock quit to return to private practice.

If the Mayor’s original plan was to freshen the inspections department, why did he move from “cleaning house” there to cleaning alleyways before allowing the whole thing to be chucked?

Doesn’t it appear that the Mayor is making sloppy use of the political capital he gained from the overwhelming victory at the polls last year?

At no point in any of this have I suggested that the “mutineers” in the building inspections department are blameless. Someone such as yourself who has had more recent experience with them is a better judge of this than I can be at present. I’ve no doubt that new approaches would be useful.

It’s just that I’ve seen nothing to indicate that the current Mayor has the ability to accomplish any of this. And, I remain offended that his reaction to criticism in this matter has been to suggest that words don’t mean what they do, and that newspapers have no business questioning moves made by elected officials.

If the Mayor’s intentions are as you suggest, he’s doing a poor job of conveying them.