What we’ve got here is failure to…

What is the fundamental problem at City Hall?

Ross blogged earlier this week that “…it’s about the validity of issues that have been raised and whether or not they’ve been resolved to the satisfaction of the stakeholders, in this case, the citizens of Northfield.”

I think it’s more fundamental than that.

Strother Martin 

Other failure factors: leadership, transparency, human relations.

I’d prescribe therapy but once the lawsuits started flying, I don’t see a way out other than resignations.


  1. Griff Wigley said:

    Failure to communicate is the topic of Nfld News publisher Sam Gett’s column today: Communicating together resolves conflict

    I don’t understand this, however:

    It has been clear for months that the city’s leaders are often not on the same page. Even some of Northfield’s citizenry appear reluctant to engage in discussion outside their inner circles. People are talking about all that’s going on; some are even meeting with others in small groups. But for many, there’s no rush to participate in a broader forum, no desire to beat a path to city hall and demand answers.

    October 24, 2007
  2. Anne Bretts said:

    Griff, Sam is talking about what I’ve been talking about here, a broad cross-section of organization leaders — and members — coming together in a “Civil Leadership Coalition” or forum or task force or whatever you want to call it.
    Usually such groups are formed around comp plans or economic development or lobbying efforts to improve highways or win aid for a cultural center…anything where broad community support is essential.
    I agree that at this point, resignations or the next election are the only way to solve some of this. It’s like a couple trying therapy when they’ve already filed restraining orders…they just need to be in separate cities, but that’s not possible here.
    The coalition could provide a bridge, offering discussions of open meeting laws, panel discussions with experts, and some sense of context and history in determining which issues are important and which are just hot air.
    We have so many people, former mayors and councilors, former and current legislators, business officials, League of Women Voters members, college faculty, etc., who could review the issues and recommend action. The recommendations could provide cover for warring City Hall factions to come together and still give residents a sense that the issues were handled openly.

    October 24, 2007
  3. kiffi summa said:

    Citizens, Residents, people who care : don’t wait for any more groups, organizations, taskforces to form … Just go to the open mic at council meetings, and tell them of your concerns.
    Why is it so difficult for the electorate to speak to those they have elected ?
    Open Mic is at the beginning of each regular City council meeting. Get there at seven, wait for them to call the role, vote on the agenda, and then it’s Your Turn to speak to them…
    It is as easy ,in this venue, as it gets to speak directly to the persons you elected. Please do it!

    October 24, 2007
  4. Griff Wigley said:

    Kiffi, I agree, more citizens at open mic could help. But remember two things: 1) fear of public speaking is a big issue for a large percentage of people; and 2) there’s no interaction, for the most part, which I find very weird.

    October 24, 2007
  5. Jessica Paxton said:

    I’ll add a third point: not every one has the flexibility to attend city council meetings. There are a lot of concerned and committed residents that also have small children — and getting a babysitter in order to attend a council meeting is a bit unreasonable. Perhaps the city could provide complimentary child care?!? Obviously that’s absurd but it’s something to think about. Just because people are unable to attend a meeting does not mean they don’t care or are unwilling to participate.

    October 24, 2007
  6. kiffi summa said:

    I can’t do anything about anyone’s fear of public speaking; does it help to think of this? What’s scarier… speaking at open mic for two minutes , or sitting up there on that dais and having the audience in the room and all the viewers watching at home looking at your every move for the length of the whole meeting, 2-5 hours???
    Interaction, rather lack of it, IS wierd; smacks of the lack of the most common courtesy … but wait for a news flash…we’re working on it.
    If you can’t get there yourself give a written statement to someone who will read it for you, or e-mail it to your council rep and ask that they read it into the record.
    It’s your process ultimately, use it or lose it.

    October 24, 2007
  7. Lisa Guidry said:


    Do you know that alot of the meetings don’t end until midnight? I suggest getting one person to address the issues that concern you, whether by newspaper, or calling your councilman. Don’t stop calling & writing!

    October 24, 2007
  8. I am a great proponent of people giving each other all the info they need to
    write in, call in, or attend a meeting, to contact their political reps, etc, whenever
    the suggestion is made. It works, it helps, and it’s just plain good procedure.

    Time, Date, Map, Address, Phone, Issue Outline, Name of Contact, Web Addy, Parking Availability, or Whatever is needed to move concerned action along.

    October 25, 2007

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