It has been almost eight years since I left my seat on the Winter Haven City Commission, and as I watch the current commission deal with the apparent desire to replace the City Manager, I am reminded of my own experience. I too, was on a commission where we had two new commissioners elected who wanted to replace the long serving City Manager, who they declared to be unresponsive to the citizens, unwilling to deal with the press, and who had been in office too long and to paraphrase "we need some house cleaning at City Hall". Those commissioners? Brooks and Easterling.
After much heated discussion the City Manager was removed with a expensive severance package, and a capable interim manager was installed while the search for a new leader ensued. What we found was that the best candidates stayed away from the City as the impression was out there that the political situation on the City Commission was unstable at best. It took a year before things settled down and we were able to find a candidate who met our requirements and was willing to take us where we wanted to go. That candidate? David Greene.
If I could offer advice from a reformed politician who views things now in a more historical perspective, it would be for our current commissioners to remember that words MEAN things. If you say it to the press, chances are it will be printed or posted, and it gets awfully hard to take back. Save your comments for the meetings, think three times before you say anything, and remember that when the evening is over, we're all on the same side.
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