The Search for Ashland’s City Manager Needs to Proceed Immediately Looking for an Experienced Manager

A recent letter to the Tidings proposed that Ashland’s temporary City Manager Adam Hanks be made permanent manager; thus saving recruiting costs. There are many factors that challenge this stance. 

First, the voters made clear that they want change. Mr. Hanks is a career Ashland employee who does not meet the desired experience or educational requirements as directed by the city council. He does not have real life experiences with managing other cities to give insight to different perspectives (nor do the city councilors). 

Secondly, money spent to recruit a highly qualified and experienced city manager can save Ashland millions in the future. There are those on the council who seem to be wedded to current city operations/methods (the overstaffed and highly paid bureaucracy) and are resistant to other approaches. They do not seem bothered by the high taxes and fees put upon residents; rather they seem to want Ashland to be a place for those who can afford it, the privileged. 

On the other hand most of the new councilors and the mayor seem to want Ashland to get its expenses and staffing in line with other cities. They want Ashland to be a diverse community with all income levels (as it has been historically) … where a teacher and other employees can afford to live and remain here when retired. 
Because of these different perspectives, one can only ask for a certain level of decorum and compliance to protocol.

Regardless, the councilors will always be pulling in different directions and challenging each other’s ideas … which is healthy in order to approach reality and obtain the best ideas … and to hold individual councilors accountable to voters. Unanimous council votes are not desired.

Yet neither the council nor temporary City Manager Hanks have the experience or expertise of a qualified, professional city manager. Their opinions and decisions can be harmful until a qualified city manager is in place. With Ashland’s new structure which gives the city manager greater powers, it is crucial that we recruit, screen and hire a new city manager promptly.

Sue Wilson, Ashland

(not the Susan Wilson from ACES)