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Letters, June 28

Dismayed by departures

Like many Ashland residents I am dismayed by the recent departures of senior city managers. I do not know them but it is apparent that each has served well for a number of years. They are respected professionals as far as I can tell. The public comments from each of them were indicative of good character and care for the city of Ashland. I think it is telling that two of the three are resignations, not retirements. So what are the causes? Not having talked with them I don’t know for sure. What I surmise from a distance includes the following: The campaign run last year against the “status quo,” and now embodied in the mayor and several councilors, is having an impact; incumbent staff are part of the status quo; anti-status quo rhetoric and behavior are driving away key competency. I think the use of “status quo” as a label for political messaging was effective, but inaccurate and harmful. I don’t think running our beautiful town well is a negative. I am dismayed.

Alan Steed


No crisis in Ashland

Despite the hand-wringing of Ashland City Council member Steve “Chicken Little” Jensen and his sidekick-in-panic Tonya Graham, I’d bet that on-the-ground city employees in Ashland can continue to do their jobs even without $265,000 Interim Pro Tem Adam Hanks for a few weeks, or even months. If they can’t, it’s an indication that Hanks wasn’t actually The Greatest Fearless Leader Ever.

As for the finance director, she’s had 17 jobs over the last 24 years, so no surprise she’s leaving Ashland so quickly. Could we continue clearing the decks? How about the resignation of HR Director Tina Gray? She’s managed to recommend two consultants in a row who couldn’t find anyone to lead a city of 21,000 souls in a bucolic college town. Time for less fretting and some new management with genuine competence.

Allen Baker