One thing about city: faces will change

Posted by art@cushingcitizen.com art@cushingcitizen.com
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6/29/2016


We read about Stewart Arthurs’ retirement. He has been an icon at the city commission meetings and at other public city functions for a generation. We pray he enjoys a healthy and happy retirement. Well deserved.
Faces change at the city commission meetings. From time to time, we have new members elected. Then, sometimes, a process takes place whereas all faces at the table change. We’re not sure why.
Perhaps prior leadership serves their term or series of terms — pays their dues — and decides not to run for reelection, opting for new blood and new enthusiasm. Other times, the community decides it’s time for change — a time for a new direction — and here comes a group of new faces.
One thing is for certain, it is difficult, if not impossible, to second-guess the public. For two years, we observed while a new group of commissioners are selected to set around the table. Some ran campaigns urging voters to support them based on promises of change, progress, improved public-private partnerships, etc.
The public voted these individuals into office, and we are confident they would not make choices that were not consistent with the wishes of the voting public. Apparently, the public wanted a little but not substantive change.
Apparently, the public wanted the city commission to instruct the city manager to recruit and hire an assistant city manager. That was done. We’re not sure what the assistant city manager’s role is. We’re not clear on what his functions have been for the last year. We do have an assistant city manager so we can cross that one off the list. Done.
Commissioners must have heard from the public that we wanted the city commission to vote to fund an economic development position. For nearly a year, the position has been budgeted. We don’t have an economic developer and don’t believe there’s been one interview. We’re not even sure if a job description has been drafted.
The commission has entrusted that duty to the Cushing Economic Development Foundation. There it sets. But we have voted to budget the position so we can cross that one off. Done.
Loud and clear, the city commission heard from the voting public that our city needs to be improved aesthetically. Truthfully, Cushing, like many other communities, needs to be kept cleaner rather than being cleaned up.
People need to take care of their own property, show respect for other peoples’ property and — for goodness sakes — quit throwing things on the ground.
Cushing Pride began and took off like a rocket. A number of city streets were cleared of trash and debris. The downtown enjoyed a one-day transformation. It takes one day to clean it up and a little more than one day to trash it back up again.
A lack of constant pressure, constant publicity, constant activity, projects and enthusiasm has caused what should be one of Cushing’s most progressive movements to slow to a slothful crawl. But it is in place so we can cross that one off.
One could conclude that new and exciting activity would require new and excited leadership. We thought, what the commission had in mind, was urging City Manager Steve Spears, who had done an admirable job of managing the business of the city of Cushing, to enjoy a much deserved retirement.
A new city manager could be recruited who has experience in management of a municipal government as well as community development. Obviously, that’s not what the voting public wanted because the commission voted to renew the city manager’s contract for yet another year.
That’s fine.
As mentioned before, Spears takes good care of the city government. If that’s what we expect of a city manager, good enough.
Somewhere, community leadership has to come into the picture. The voting public wants, we are confident, the commission to have a plan for community leadership. We are just as confident the commission has such a plan.
We are just not aware of it. Do they plan for the assistant city manager to serve as community developer? Does the commission plan for the person eventually hired as economic developer to serve also as community developer?
We are eager to learn who, the commission has in mind, to serve as Cushing’s community developer because in order for much of the positive change put into place by the commission to have a chance to succeed, we must have a community developer or otherwise some type of community leadership in place to keep leading these progressive changes to the point of critical mass, less they will all fail.
We guess we just have to trust them and keep a keen eye open to learn as their plan unfolds.
There’s always a solution. We fervently believe that.

Blessings.