Ribaudo column: A ‘to do’ list for South Lake Tahoe interim city manager (opinion)
I thought it would be a good time to pass on a couple of thoughts to the new interim City Manager Dirk Brazil. Welcome, Dirk, we are pleased to have you. I know being an interim city manager is vastly different from your previous gig as city manager in Davis, but we have needed you for a while now. Given your six month appointment, you are not just a city manager but a free agent to do what’s best for this community as a whole.
In fact, here is a thought: Instead of thinking you are an interim city manager working for the City Council, think of yourself as a consultant working for the community. After all the council does work for us.
Give the community the benefit of your years of experience and insight so we can be in a better position to steer the politicians. I am sure any of the media outlets in this town will give you space to talk directly to the community. If you are agreeable, here is a “to do” list you can start with.
Community trust: This council has frittered away what little trust it had with the circus it created in trying to get rid of the last city manager. All the contortions and the possible Brown Act violation of hiring Mary Egan without the proper process to avoid paying severance is never a good thing. Maybe you could advise the council that transparency is a better way to go. Even if it’s not pleasant. The next time they want to get rid of an at-will employee, they might look at how Elk Grove did it. They simply told the city manager they were going in a new direction gave her severance and moved on. Your thoughts and suggestions are welcome.
Our reputation: The tourism industry has done a wonderful job of telling the world what a great place this is for recreation, entertainment and all the cool things you can do here. The council with its antics has diminished our reputation. The word is that we are a toxic city and may not be able to attract a top caliber city manager. I am sure prospective city managers will Google “city of South Lake Tahoe” and find out all they need to. Maybe you could give some thoughts on how we as a community can get our reputation back.
Staffing: We desperately need your help here. Why not give us your recommendations on how to find and keep a city attorney. We have had a revolving door of poor-quality legal advice; we need to do better. Oh yea, how about giving us your thoughts on a new city clerk. Help us protect our need to know everything, not just the information some think we should know. And while you are at it, how about recommendations on what we should be looking for with city council members. You have seen the good ones, and the not so good, your insights would be welcome.
Making a change: You worked in Davis. You have seen tremendous change. Maybe you could give some advice on how we as a community can get our minds around the need to change. We have big issues confronting us; the loop road, housing, VHR, cannabis. These are complex issues. If we had the right approach to change maybe we could find a way to work through them.
I know it’s a busy list for your short tenure but if you want to make a difference you can. Give us your recommendations with no bullshit. You have nothing to worry about; your job is safe.
Hungry? Don’t miss Dragon Fly Bagels located in the Blue Angel Café Thursday through Sunday. Those bagels are really good and while you’re at it grab a copy of “Tailspin” by Steven Brill. A great read on the forces that are shaping this country. Make it your summer reading, you will enjoy it.
It’s a Wrap
It was really sad to hear about Anthony Bourdain, someone who I really enjoyed. It reminds us that mental health is a plague that confronts us all, rich or poor, famous or not. If you need help, please talk to someone, call the county mental health department hotline at 530-544-2219.
Carl Ribaudo is a columnist, consultant, speaker, and writer who lives in South Lake Tahoe. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.