The City of Clinton's Course of Action
LETTERS: Hold manager to a standard - Why is he different?
To the Editor:
The city manager has cussed out a reporter (that would be me) following a city council meeting while still in the council chambers with the mayor and members of council present. He then stormed out of the room, promising “you’ll never get anything else from me.”
Now, the city manager gets into a shouting match with a local minister, sticks his finger in the preacher’s face and tells him to shut up. He then, again, storms out of the room. This was during a city council meeting. Council chambers were packed.
He later returned and the meeting continued as if nothing had happened.
What is it going to take for the mayor and the six council members to realize — or publicly admit — that this guy is wrong for Clinton?
How much unprofessional, public behavior must they witness before they admit it was a mistake to hire him and take action? Those seven people just recently gave the city manager a 2% raise (to $112,200 per year) and extended his contract for two more years. The vote was unanimous.
After the city manager cussed out the reporter (that would be me), the reporter (me) asked the mayor if that was the way he wanted the city manager to conduct himself.
“I didn’t hear what you said before (the city manager exploded in anger),” he said. I wondered then, and wonder now, What could I have possibly said that would make what the city manager said OK?
I was at last Monday night’s council meeting as a citizen and resident of Clinton. I was not there as a reporter. I no longer cover city council.
Someone who was at the meeting last week said, if the city manager acts the way he does during council meetings, how does he act in private with the city employees? Good question.
The city manager is quite fond of announcing that he is a professional engineer. The Code of Ethics for Engineers set by the National Society of Professional Engineers lists six fundamental canons.
The final canon (pun not intended) says: “Conduct themselves honorably, responsibly, ethically and lawfully so as to enhance the honor, reputation and usefulness of the profession.”
Look at all the dedicated, long-time city employees who have either left or been fired since this city manager came to Clinton. How much institutional knowledge and history has been lost?
The city manager’s contract states he can be fired for “cause.” Among the causes listed are “series of repeated action (“Course of Conduct”) of dishonesty, neglect, harassment, incompetence or misconduct in the performance of his duties…”
If he is fired, the city must pay him for three months.
If Leon Gilbert or Russell Allen or Sam Bennett or Josh Kay or Frank Stovall had ever acted like this man does during meetings (and none of them ever came close), how quickly would council have called a special meeting to deal with such behavior? They all would have been fired.
What’s the difference with this city manager? When will someone (other than a reporter or a preacher) show some courage and speak up and speak out?
The city is coming apart.
Publisher’s note: Larry Franklin is retired and lives in Clinton. Opinions expressed are his and his alone and do not represent the newspaper or any employee of the newspaper.
Counsel the city manager about behavior
To the editor,
It seems that Mr. Bill Ed Cannon seems to know what is best for everyone but himself.
I strongly encourage the City Council to counsel Mr Cannon. The missteps in last night's Council meeting (May 6) are a continuation of his style that started with his first verbal altercation with the newspaper manager and that should not be considered appropriate for the City Manager of this City.
I also strongly encourage the City Council to stop all projects until a complete cost benefit review is done since we do not need any more $233,000 surprises like we got with the splitting up of the fire and police departments. Will the additional costs to the City improve its fire rating
and result in lower fire insurance for the citizens?
This should include the recreation facility since the City does not know the full cost beyond what it will get from the tax fund.