Carson City suddenly has a leadership vacuum
Problems, problems, problems … Drugs, gangs, tax revenue and more.
Until recently, a silver lining to those dark clouds over Carson City was that we seemed to have a team of top managers and elected officials who were working in unison, guided by a well thought out plan to solve them.
But recent developments have us wondering if that silver lining has turned black.
City manager Linda Ritter’s performance has suddenly come under fire and, until Wednesday, she was in danger of being fired. The specifics of what she allegedly did wrong or whom she may have angered are not clear to any but those on the extreme inside of the city’s power structure.
This is a distraction no one needed. The city is at a critical point in choosing a course for its future and it must have strong leaders to be successful.
Do we have that in the mayor? His capacity to be a unifying force has been compromised by his own mistake – driving while intoxicated. He continues to have a strong base of support and his charisma is more than a personal asset, it’s an asset for the city. But there’s no question his base of support and the public confidence in his decision-making ability have been corroded.
That might not have been a great liability if his style had meshed with the strong, behind-the-scenes leadership of a city manager. Now that we’ve learned that source of leadership has been compromised as well, the city may be in trouble, especially since no strong voices have emerged from the Board of Supervisors.
If it turns out this is not the team that can lead this city out of its troubles, then it’s time to build a new team. Unfortunately, its not clear whether removing Ritter would remove a part of the problem or a part of the solution. And her departure would leave the city rudderless until a new person could be hired and familiarized with the city.
If the problem is with the mayor and some of the supervisors, then the solution will be even more slow in coming. The mayor will be up for re-election in 2008, along with two supervisors.
In all of the events that will transpire now to bring the situation to a close, we urge everyone involved to be guided by what’s best for the city rather than for themselves. And what’s best for the city is to get busy solving the problems we already have rather than creating new ones.