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Minot needs a city manager, but that can wait

Finding a new city manager can wait. City council must first draft and sign off on a strategic plan so they, any potential new city manager, and everyone else (that’s us) know what direction the city is going.

The topic came up at this week’s city council meeting, and there was both positive discussion and disagreement.

Council member Carrie Evans:

“Part of the problem with not having a strategic plan is it allows for the tail to wag the dog. It allows for an individual to come into a position like a city manager position, and if there is a void – there is no mission, there is no value statement, there is no strategic plan – that person really can be assertive and fill in those gaps for us. And I, for one, do not want those gaps filled in by somebody who may be coming in from another place.”

Mayor Shaun Sipma said the council needs a city manager first, to lead council in developing a strategic plan.

“I think it would be a monumental mistake to kick that down the road farther, without knowing whether we have qualified candidates out there,” Sipma said of the search, “or at least giving direction to our city employees that we’re serious about finding the right person for the job.”

Council member Tom Ross agreed the council needs to find a city manager to help with strategic planning.

“We need a captain of the ship right now. We can’t wait,” he said. “We need to find our qualified applicants, and we need to move forward.”

So who is right? We’ll side with Evans.

A strong, new city manager could easily have his or her way with city council; it’s happened before.

That is a position we don’t want to be in again.

We as a community need to set our own course and then hire the right “captain” to guide us there.

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