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The dismissal of the city manager

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By The Staff

There is obviously more than meets the eye when it comes to the dismissal of Jim Coleman as the city manager of Williston.

There were references to unhappy city employees, projects not followed through and the treatment of the city clerk during Tuesday's meeting when Coleman was fired.

For my part, I can only say that all the dealings I had with Coleman were positive. He was always accessible for information. I am sorry to see him go.

Now comes the interesting part, figuring out how to go about hiring someone new.

It's always been my belief that the City Council in this type of government is like a board of directors of a major corporation, and the city manager is the CEO hired by the board.

If you've ever worked for a company such as this, you know that the board has little contact with day-to-day employees.

If employees have a complaint against the CEO, they bring it to a board meeting and air it before the entire board.

But listening to Williston's meeting the other night, complaints were voiced to various commissioners, not at a public meeting. That means that the city manager didn't have a chance to answer specific charges and complaints in public.

And let's not forget that the public is the government, not just the five elected representatives. Don't the people have the right to know the details that went into this firing?

Which brings me to my next question - do we really need a city manager in a town this size?

Police Chief Dan Davis hinted at the same thing when he spoke at the meeting, noting the high amount of pay that was being given to Coleman, and that maybe the duties of the position could be scaled back.

We already have specific supervisory duties for each council member - parks and recreation, sanitation, etc. Do we need the duplication?

There needs to be someone there to work toward getting federal grants ... the government doesn't make it easy to get OUR money back from them. But some other things might not be necessary.

So let's see what, and who, the council comes up with. With budget time rolling around, it should be interesting.

DRUG SNIFFING: It was revealed at the council meeting Tuesday that part of the big indoor grow raid a couple of weeks ago in Williston, which resulted in arrests for marijuana cultivation, also produced some canine drug-sniffing at the airport. This wasn't included in the original reports, but the city discussed it a big during airport matters this week.

STYLE MATTERS: In AP style, unless it's a proper name of a business or organization, the ampersand (&) does not exist. It's John and Mary, not John & Mary.

WEB SITE: Are you a big television watcher?

Go to thefutoncritic.com for a bunch of TV information.

Jim Clark is the editor of the Williston Pioneer Sun News. He can be reached at editor@willistonpioneer.com or at 528-3343.