The sudden resignation of the village's public works director last week is sure to present countless operational challenges for the village. It also presents an opportunity for village officials to put politics aside and handle a personnel issue in a professional manner for the sake of the department.
The department needs stability, and the only way to provide that is for interim director Bob Kutak to come to work with the comfort of knowing his job description will remain as is, at least until the next council election.
Months after the heated debate that eventually led to Curtis Cashman's hiring as director, we're still not sure who was right. Certainly, there are benefits to promoting a longtime and dependable employee instead of taking risks on an outsider, and those benefits have never been clearer.
There are also obvious reasons to explore the option of finding new personnel with new ideas and the background necessary to elevate the department to a new level. Perhaps this would have occurred if the commissioners in charge of public works had been able to get their preferred candidate through the council instead of settling on Cashman.
It's a difference in philosophy among the two sides of the council, and the same debate is likely to manifest itself again in the future. Right now, though, it's just not the time.
We hope to see the council minority put all leftover hard feelings against Kutak from last year's debacle aside, and the council majority resist the temptation to rub Cashman's failure in their opponent's faces. By demonstrating an ability to handle a major personnel issue in a professional manner, the village council can regain some of the trust from citizens that has been lost over the past several months.
Regional supt. race one to watch
We're glad to see Charles Flowers throwing his hat in the ring for the job of regional school superintendent, especially with his emphasis on increasing accountability. Still, we hope he realizes that there would be no better way of doing so than to eliminate the very position that he is running for.
Current superintendent Bob Ingraffia is well-meaning and a competent administrator, but he has not shown a readiness to risk burning bridges by tackling allegations of corruption that have plagued many school districts. The reason for this, most likely, is because he knows his office could easily be eliminated if he falls out of favor with political power brokers â€" and perhaps it should be.
The office is one of local government's many archaic and unnecessary "liaison" positions that were meant to foster communication but now do nothing but increase bureaucracy and hamper efficiency. In this communication-obsessed era, with cell phones, high speed Internet, Blackberries, etc, can anyone really make a case that such positions are necessary?
If Flowers wants to run a gutsy campaign and fight government waste, he should run on the promise that he will explore ways to dissolve the office in order to save taxpayers money and restore some semblance of efficiency to school government.