On Thursday, September 5, Trinidad City Council held a special meeting to vote on accepting the resignation of City Manager Greg Sund. The mayor began the meeting by admonishing the public for their “speculation” as to why the city manager was leaving. Mayor Rico, went on to chide the public for discussing the resignation on Facebook and renounced the idea that Mr. Sund had to resign or be faced with termination.
I find his condemnation absolutely unwarranted.
The council meeting for the city manager’s yearly evaluation on July 17 was somewhat benign for Mr. Sund, but the evaluation follow up on August 26, was held in executive session, closed from the public. That alone is suspicious and it was then that the community received the impression that Mr. Sund will not be continuing as city manager. It has always been a practice in polite society that managers and administrators be given the choice of resigning or termination. No reason to expect any different from council.
It wasn’t speculation, Mr. Mayor. It was deduction.
Speaking only as a concerned member of the community, it is irritating to be talked down to by a mayor who did not follow basic procedure while holding this special meeting; roll call was not taken at the opening of the meeting to show a quorum was present for voting, as stated in Article 3 Division 1 (6) of the Municipal Code. Nor did the mayor allow for public comments as set forth in the Home Charter 5.16.
The public’s right to form an opinion and speak their opinion is absolute, and the best way to circumvent rumors is to make the truth available. The mayor could have, and should have, given a press release with a brief summary of the reasoning behind council’s intentions, but chose not to, so much for government transparency.
Everyone on council knew of Mr. Sund’s lack of experience and hired him anyway. A warm body with a lofty salary and after a year of poor guidance, Mr. Sund failed his evaluation. Greg Sund will receive padding for his resume and a sweet severance package, but the community has to watch our tax dollars feed the city’s revolving door, again.
I do invite council to improve themselves and the process by being more responsible when hiring a new city manager.
Google what city managers make in other towns the size of Trinidad, using it as a guide for salaries; as a qualification for applicants, have them create a written three to five year plan for Trinidad. That would cause them to study the town’s history and plans for the future. More importantly, do your due diligence and check the background of each applicant yourselves instead of trusting someone being paid for their suggestions, as they will only tell you what you want to hear, get paid and leave with no culpability. Finally, council must supervise their employee by setting parameters and goals for the city manager and follow through on accomplishments and consistent guidance to prevent failure.