Friday, June 28, 2013/lk
Time for new mayor
In 2004 I moved from Washington to Hood River where I immediately got involved with various services and organizations. I served as president of the Downtown Business Association for three years and on the board of the Chamber of Commerce and the Hood River Rotary.
I am currently on the board of the Columbia Center for the Arts. It was in these services that I came to know Bob Francis because he was in attendance and involved with all of these organizations.
Bob has been the best asset the City of Hood River has had in recent history. Of all the city managers and county administrators I have come to know over the years he rises far above the pack. When there is something that the community wants Bob was always there to help find a way to get it.
Rather than resting on an approach taken by many government administrators and doing nothing to lend a hand, Bob took a proactive approach in finding a solution to a problem or access to an acceptable result.
Our mayor, through his meddling, henpecking and manipulation, has succeeded in driving Bob away. Arthur Babitz has been a very disruptive influence on the everyday operation of our city and should have restricted access to all departments and department heads.
The City Charter clearly says that the function of the mayor is to conduct the City Council meetings and that the function of the city manager is to run the operation of the city. Arthur has way overstepped his bounds and is micro-managing all the departments. This is not his function.
Arthur is being very disruptive and we need to stop him. I grant that he is blessed with above-average intelligence but he also has an exaggerated sense of responsibility.
We have lost our beloved Bob and it is time now for us to stand up and put some constraints on Arthur’s brow beating and persistent meddling in the operation of our city. Morale at City Hall is very low.
We must recruit someone to fill the position of mayor in the next election as well as all the council members who have gulped the Babitz Kool-Aid.
J. McGregor Colt
Francis has been great
Well, seems Mayor Babitz gets his way, and we are looking for a new city manager since Bob Francis has resigned. Just as well, I suppose; we only need one person directing the daily activities of our city staff and the mayor only costs us $100 a month.
When I was first elected to city council in 1989, then-Mayor Jernstedt reminded us that no one on council had any authority outside the council chambers, not even the mayor. It took four affirmative votes while in an official council meeting to do anything.
I was the first mayor to serve under the current charter and knew basically my job was to chair the meetings, co-sign the approved checks, cut the ribbons and kiss the babies. Maybe we need to get back to that and let our professional staff do their jobs!
I am concerned the cloud under which Bob resigned will have a negative impact on quality of applicants we will see in the future. Bob probably has more options for his future than we have in replacing him under these circumstances.
Can this be rectified? I hope so as Bob has done a bang-up job for us in my view!
Support is appreciated
I would like to thank all of the friends, colleagues, city residents and members of the Hood River business community who have reached out to Bob and me. The support we have received during the past few weeks, and especially the past few days, has been amazing. We are truly blessed to live in such a wonderful community.
I would also like to thank the city staff. There are some incredible people who work for this city, from the fire and police departments who put their lives on the line every day, to public works who keep our streets clear in the winter and our city looking great all year, to the planning department and office staff who keep everything running. They deserve our appreciation and support.
Again, thank you. Bob and I look forward to remaining active members in this community for many years to come.