Newburyport, City Manager – Non-Political

In my wanderings around the World Wide Web looking for information on City Managers I came across an article by Bob Greene of “Jewish World Review.”

Mr. Green advises for “cities that have become sick of petty political infighting” to get rid of the idea of having a mayor and instead “hire a city manager.”

“City managers — when the system works as it should — are non-political. They have no politics-driven agendas: They are hired to get a job done:

Make the city work — and make it work efficiently.”

(http://www.jewishworldreview.com/bob/greene112800.asp)

The more I look around the World Wide Web, the more I see that City Managers appear to be the norm, rather than the exception.

One of my questions is “how in the world does a City Manager stay ‘non-political?’”

I’m an artist, so I’m not exactly an expert on this one.

However, in my Internet explorations I came across an article by Brendon Connelly on being non-political or apolitical.

These are some of his thoughts and I thought they were very wise:

“1) Wear no mask.
The guy that walks into your office is the same guy that walks into your colleague or boss’s office. One face, no mask.

2) Be transparent.
All my agendas are clearly visible. You want to know what I think? I’ll tell you. The words I say might make one or both of us uncomfortable, but I’ll do my best to soften them without diluting their truth.

3) Flex and bend.
I strive to be flexible and willing to hear opposing points of view. Defending a lame position for any reason is, well, lame. I don’t assume I’m the smartest person in the room, and I generally take the opinions of others at face value (this is where being apolitical can be painful, but only in the short term).

4) Listen to ‘em.
Learning to really listen is dangerous to my status quo. Truly listening means I’m extending myself beyond my own boundaries, at my risk and for the benefit of the other. It’s hard to do if you’re unwilling to be transformed.

5) Park the ego.
This is a difficult one (and probably is for everyone), but it’s essential for me. When my ego gets wrapped up in the work, it’s too easy to start defending those lame positions…

6) Forget the empire.
I don’t want to be an empire builder. I’ve got my responsibilities and I attend to them. If I acquire an empire, I’ll probably never notice.

7) No gossip.
I fail too often at this one. Unfortunately I slip into gossip mode too often, and I think it’s because I’m so willing to talk things out.

8) Focus on it.
What’s the business issue at hand? Focus on it. The key is to be sure I’m not being myopic about the issue I’m focusing on. Sometimes the issue is broader than my current focus.”

Source:

http://slackermanager.com/2006/04/how-to-avoid-office-politics.html

Mary Eaton
Newburyport