Part I: City Manager Search
A key rule in life and business is when something isn’t working don’t keep doing the same thing. Change course. That’s certainly in order now that the Scottsdale City Council has again failed to reach consensus on a new City Manager, which is long overdue.
It’s confounding that the apparent direction from council is to go back to the same process and outside consultants that have failed before. Will the third time really be the charm? We think not.
So here are some people and procedures that should be considered so this embarrassing saga for Scottsdale doesn’t continue. The city’s leaders need to remember this is Scottsdale not Buckeye and act accordingly. If you don’t like the people you’re being fed go recruit talent across Arizona and the country that can easily be identified to you. Baseball teams don’t outsource General Manager searches to human resources. Their owners and presidents identify and recruit. The same should be done now by a subcommittee of the council that has yet to coalesce around one candidate. This search committee might be made up of Mayor Lane, Councilwoman Korte and Councilman Phillips, each members of the conflicting caucuses. Fritz Behring was a City Manager hired by acclimation. It shouldn’t be this difficult.
Absent this new process go back to people that have well served the city in the past, or who could in the future. People like Lisa Collins, Dan Worth, Dick Bowers or Topeka, Kansas City Manager Jim Colson who was passed over previously.
The city is badly in need of a permanent City Manager. And badly in need of changing the way it’s going about it.
Part II: Special Event Funding
In 2010 Scottsdale voters wisely chose to slightly increase hotel taxes to better fund Scottsdale tourism. Part of those funds are dedicated to assisting new events become the next Barrett-Jackson, Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show or Waste Management Phoenix Open. Results have been mixed, as can be expected of any new program.
But one recent approval should be repulsive to all.
Upon a recommendation from the Tourism Development Commission the Scottsdale City Council approved $82,500 for the azcentral Food & Wine Festival. Notwithstanding there are 9,000 such festivals around Arizona (and this one is owned by USA Today & Arizona Republic who hardly need promotional help) the event was held in 2015 at Scottsdale Fashion Square. But for its 2016 event held last weekend it decided to move to Salt River Fields. The audacity to ask for Scottsdale monies as it exited the community is almost impressive if it weren’t infuriating. Unbelievably, a commission and council indulged. Furthermore, the event was taking place on the exact same weekend the same groups decided to apporppriate $60,000 for the “Grand Prix” in downtown Scottsdale. Notwithstanding the paucity of that event why would any Scottsdale leader subsidize an event outside of Scottsdale to compete with one it was contemporaneously funding in downtown?
Scottsdale has been duly recognized for being an effective run government. This is an exception to the rule and should not happen again.