Letters to the Editor

Letter: The mayor's team

Anchorage has long been a weak or “ceremonial mayor-strong city manager” type of government. Traditionally the mayor is outward facing and the city manager, as a chief operating officer, focuses more on internal organizational tasks, managing the city’s directors and other administrators in carrying out policies and overseeing compliance with regulations, etc. Both direct their energy to accomplishing the city’s mission, aims and goals. And both are accountable to the public for their actions. While the lines between mayor and manager can blur when carrying out day-to-day duties of city leadership, key to the effectiveness of a mayor is the person selected for the city manager position.

I don’t believe I’ve heard any of the leading candidates address how they plan to assure competence in their administration, i.e. who will they hire and what will qualify them for the position? When leaders are competent, they often make the job look easy, prompting some to watch and think, “I could do that job, it looks easy.” Good leaders not only work hard, but smart. Smart leaders adhere to two management adages; first, aim for effectiveness, then work to become more efficient. Too often we hear only about being more efficient. It should never come at the cost of effectiveness. We hear too often about cost savings but almost never about effectiveness. The other principle is “put resources closest to the point of need.” This assumes one hires, trains and trusts competent employees. What do candidates expect of their city manager and other administrators?

I want to hear more about how these candidates understand and intend to manage, administer and lead for the people of Anchorage.

— Jan and Bill Gehler


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