Ok I just couldn’t resist.
I went to last night’s meeting of the Newburyport City Council Planning and Development subcommittee to sit and listen to who our next Planning Director would most probably be.
I came away thinking, “Boy, am I glad I’m not on the Newburyport City Council.” Because after last night’s meeting with proposed planning director Christopher Ryan I would have a lot of sleepless nights figuring on how I was going to vote on this one.
Bottom line, Christopher Ryan seems to be a very bright, capable gentleman, but just does not seem to be a match for the City of Newburyport, MA …well, that was my take.
I was impressed, 9 out of the 11 City Councilors were there, I imagine the other 2 were on vacation (it is August.)
Before the meeting Mr. Ryan looked nervous. And Mayor Moak when he arrived looked very nervous. Mrs. Moak looked a little tense herself. I quipped to somebody, “As long as Mr. Ryan has done his homework and hasn’t killed his grandmother, everything’s going to be just fine.”
My impression was that Christopher Ryan was very candid and not manipulative in the least.
He had not done his homework. He had not read the Newburyport Master Plan or the Zoning Code or any of the other pertinent documents. You could almost hear the entire audience murmur, “Say what?”
He also made it very clear that he was dedicated to the teaching job in the Fall and that was where all his energies at the moment were going and that he would be teaching again in the “Spring” semester, January-March 2007.
Again you could almost hear the entire audience mumble “excuse me?”
He admitted quite candidly that he had (I think I have the phrase right) “very little” experience in historic preservation. Yes, you can hear the reaction …“What?”
And there was a lot of chit chat about the ability to get along with the Building Inspector ….a lot of biting of lower lips and eyes raised to the ceiling among the people in the audience.
I thought the Planning and Development subcommittee was very professional. No, they were not warm and fuzzy, but that was not their job.
At one point Mr. Ryan expressed that he had never experienced an interview process like this one. Councilor Shanley replied, “Welcome to Newburyport.” Yes, and you could practically hear the audience say “Amen.” I wanted to say, “if you think this is bad, wait to you see what the actual job is like, this will be like a walk in the park.”
Anyway, there was lots and lots more. The City Council Subcommittee did not make a recommendation on the appointment, they wanted to “sleep on it” because there was so much new information.
I don’t see how in the world they could have made a recommendation last night. I was hoping for a “slam-dunk, whew, we have a new Planning Director.” In my book, a “slam-dunk” just didn’t happen. Monday, August 28th the Newburyport City Council will take a vote, and I do not envy them in the least.