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kermit

City Manager's Future?

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I am getting the feeling that Ron Carlee's time as city manager will end in April: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/politics-government/article29095894.html  (see the quote about him 'thinking about weather he wants to continue in the posistion'). Do any of you guys have a different sense about his contract renewal? I have a poor sense of how municipal politics function so I could certainly be wrong.

I'll be sorry to see him go (if he goes). He appears to get the importance of urbanism and he has done well minimizing the damage inflicted by RWNJs in Raleigh. In addition, I think our immediate transit issues squared away (e.g. Gold Line phase two and a new CATS CEO).  That said, I might have prefered more transparancy following Patrick Canon's conviction. The next big issues I see on the horizon are 1) filling the large budget holes that will be created by Raleigh, 2) developing new planning regs (and we still have an interim planning director, right?) and 3) expanded transit funding -- although its not a direct responsibility of the city manager. 

Any thoughts on the future of one of the most powerful posistions in the county?

 

Edited by kermit

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I haven't really seen/heard compelling evidence that he'll be removed. That is, I haven't heard compelling reasons that he should be removed. It seems like most of the angst is occurring inside the government center rather than on the streets, though, so who knows. Like you say, he seems to be an advocate for a lot of policies that I like, so it's hard for me to find much fault.

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I think he's done a poor job.  He's not a concensus builder, and I think's probably had a role in both the Cannon pay-to-play and the Fire Dept whistleblower retribution.  The way he handled Jerry Orr was terribe, and then how long he let Cagle be "interim" shows his lack of fore-sight in succession planning.  Same thing with the long-term hole at City Planner when Campbell was promoted to Assist Mgr.  The new hire at CATS, while quick, was someone who has no experience in rail transit (former Orlando transit head).

The fact that there is high turnover isn't particularly encouraging either.

I'm not sure if I have a view on his urban support.  I don't know that i've seen direct evidence either way there.  He doesn't strike me as urban-centric though, and his last role was manager of one of the biggest "sprawls" in the country (Loudon Co, VA)

As far as miminizing the impact on the state legislature, I could only imagine we'd get more concessions if he wasn't perceived as a self-ritcheous individual (again, see airport/Orr).

I see no vision, and get a sense that he he rubs decent people the wrong way.

Edited by atlrvr

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I haven't really seen/heard compelling evidence that he'll be removed. That is, I haven't heard compelling reasons that he should be removed. It seems like most of the angst is occurring inside the government center rather than on the streets, though, so who knows. Like you say, he seems to be an advocate for a lot of policies that I like, so it's hard for me to find much fault.

My sources tell me there isn't really any angst in the government center unless its at the very top because he's generally well-liked by city employees. Even then, the only relationship that matters is that with City Council, since they get to hire/fire for that position.

I think he's done a poor job.  He's not a concensus builder, and I think's probably had a role in both the Cannon pay-to-play and the Fire Dept whistleblower retribution.  The way he handled Jerry Orr was terribe, and then how long he let Cagle be "interim" shows his lack of fore-sight in succession planning.  Same thing with the long-term hole at City Planner when Campbell was promoted to Assist Mgr.  The new hire at CATS, while quick, was someone who has no experience in rail transit (former Orlando transit head).

The fact that there is high turnover isn't particularly encouraging either.

I'm not sure if I have a view on his urban support.  I don't know that i've seen direct evidence either way there.  He doesn't strike me as urban-centric though, and his last role was manager of one of the biggest "sprawls" in the country (Loudon Co, VA)

As far as miminizing the impact on the state legislature, I could only imagine we'd get more concessions if he wasn't perceived as a self-ritcheous individual (again, see airport/Orr).

I see no vision, and get a sense that he he rubs decent people the wrong way.

I disagree. I think he's done a good job, and high turn over can also be explained by an improving economy - most of the people who left took better jobs (Carolyn Flowers, Ruffin Hall, Debra Campbell). He handled the Cannon situation and the CFD issues well. Firing Orr was a brilliant move. Orr is the brains behind the current debacle with the airport so IMO he got what was coming to him. Carlee has also handled the budget issues created by Raleigh exceedingly well. 

I do think the retirement of Chief Monroe is suspicious, but there's really no way to know for sure.

One thing I've learned in watching the City over the years is that just because we don't see things moving a long, doesn't mean it isn't happening. For whatever reason, the hiring of department directors takes a long time at the City. For example, few years back when they hired the new CDOT director, it took the better part of a year (or maybe longer) to get through that process. To that end, I keep hearing that they've made an offer for the Planning Director position, so a decision should be coming soon.

Also, Carlee was from Arlington County, VA. While still fairly suburban, it essentially has the same model of growth based on rail transit that Charlotte is using and is very comparable to Charlotte itself, since we are for the most part a suburban city.

Edited by Spartan
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If I were him I would be getting the hell out of dodge with the upcoming ax the State is going to take to Charlotte and Mecklenburg's budget. There are better places to work than North Carolina right now.

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Also, Carlee was from Arlington County, VA. While still fairly suburban, it essentially has the same model of growth based on rail transit that Charlotte is using and is very comparable to Charlotte itself, since we are for the most part a suburban city.

You're right...Arlington is much more urban than Loudon, which is where I thought he was County Manager.  My bad. 

Still find him uninspiring and potentially shady :) 

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You're right...Arlington is much more urban than Loudon, which is where I thought he was County Manager.  My bad. 

Still find him uninspiring and potentially shady :) 

Atlrvr can you elaborate on your shady/a role in the Cannon pay to play scheme comments? I think Carlee has done a good job, especially being creative financially to fill the budget holes cause by the state.. If there is any heartburn, my guess is some of the establishment didn't like someone coming in and making things more efficient; however City Council is his boss, so he may have been able to manage that relationship better. Good point by another poster re the turnover, many did leave for better jobs. My guess with the rumblings from council around the Rodney Monroe resignation was that council wanted to take the upper hand and create some leverage to make sure they got their way with the replacement...

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^ I would think that the turnover is more likely due to the fact that this is a well run city with a robust and competent pool of talent and that other municipalities are eager to hire those who have played a role in its success.  

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I think anytime you have an outsider coming to replace an insider, you are going to have hurt feelings and ill will.

Carlee handled Jerry Orr superbly, given the messy circumstances created by the nutters in Raleigh. And isn't Cagle an 'interim' because of the state's nonsense? Given that Cagle was AA's hand-picked successor to Orr, I'm pretty sure Carlee would make remove 'interim' from Cagle's title if he could. Anyway, the election next year should clear all that away. If the GOP wins, God forbid, then the new Sec'y of Transportation will reassign the operating certificate. If Hillary wins, I find it hard to believe that the RWNJs in Raleigh would continue to carry on with their theft of Charlotte's airport. Oh wait...of course they will. Oy.

Carlee's big problem is that he doesn't suffer fools gladly and he doesn't serve a big ole slice of BlessYourHeart! cake with a big ole glass of sweet tea with each and every professional transaction.

So yes, he's probably toast.

If I were him I would be getting the hell out of dodge with the upcoming ax the State is going to take to Charlotte and Mecklenburg's budget. There are better places to work than North Carolina right now.

Ain't that the truth.

See Tata, Tony.

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Atlrvr can you elaborate on your shady/a role in the Cannon pay to play scheme comments? I think Carlee has done a good job, especially being creative financially to fill the budget holes cause by the state.. If there is any heartburn, my guess is some of the establishment didn't like someone coming in and making things more efficient; however City Council is his boss, so he may have been able to manage that relationship better. Good point by another poster re the turnover, many did leave for better jobs. My guess with the rumblings from council around the Rodney Monroe resignation was that council wanted to take the upper hand and create some leverage to make sure they got their way with the replacement...

The Cannon pay-to-play sting had been underway for several years before Carlee arrived, if memory serves.

Atlrvr, what role do you mean?

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Sorry for being lazy on this.  In the Observer articles that came out afterward, it seemed like there was complicitcy from within city staff to help favored constituents of Cannon.  I didn't get the sense that Carlee was on the take, but I do get the sense that he tried to shield prying eyes into his own people's involvement.  Same thing with the Fire Dept whistleblower case.

I think the state viewed Carlee's efforts to jam city services onto Airport budgets was wrong, and Jerry Orr was had no interest in a heavy-handed manager stepping on his efforts to run a "cheap" airport.  (making the airport fire its police department and pay the city for CMPD officers, exploring ways for the aiport to pay for streetcar extension, etc)

 

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^ I agree with your assesment on Carlee's incidental involvement with the Cannon amd Fire Dept imbroglios -- he was not very forthcoming IMO. I do think your timeline on airport events is skewed. The CLT airport police were merged into CMPD in December 2012, Carlee didn't start work until February 2013.  My memory of the streetcar / airport discussions is more fuzzy but I believe they were all in the Foxx and Walton era.

I have the impression that other than firing Jerry (which was well deserved given his actions IMO) Carlee has tread lightly on the airport -- too lightly in the case of Cagle's interim status.

 

 

Edited by kermit

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^  Fair enough on timeline.  I guess I sensed the blow-up between the city and state happening on his watch, but the reality is that many of the precipitating issues may have happened before he was even here.

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