He’s the savior of Holly.
He might be the anti-Christ.
I love the concept of logic, especially with arguments like those above. The first statement may or may not be true—we don’t have enough information to conclude. The second statement is true, simply because it leaves open the possibility without needing to prove one conclusion or the other.
Of course, the “he” in the statements is interim village manager Jerry Walker, who was again put through the public ringer at this week’s Village Council meeting. This time, Councilwoman Pauline Kenner was instrumental in bringing a guest to speak publicly against Mr. Walker’s pending appointment, Councilman Casey Ambrose from the City of Walled Lake.
Mr. Ambrose spoke in measured and anxious statements full of innuendo and speculation, with proof promised but not in hand. Although he stated that this was nothing personal against Mr. Walker, by the end, anyone could tell that it was, despite his repetition that he’s “only the messenger.”
Perhaps Mr. Ambrose and Mr. Walker couldn’t agree to disagree; maybe Mr. Walker had bettered Mr. Ambrose in the game of Walled Lake politics. Maybe Mr. Walker is guilty as alleged and has glibly covered the tracks of his transgressions. We don’t know, because Mr. Ambrose, along with the rest of the Gang of Three, have provided nothing new of substance—only more hints, allegations and things left unsaid.
Aside from the fact that matters like this belong in the personnel committee, or at minimum during the legally-protected public comment portion of the meeting, Mr. Ambrose’s invitation did prove one thing, though—this circus has to stop.
The entire hiring process of the village manager has been rife with the very problems that democratic government and the rule of law are supposed to prevent. The Gang of Three is engaging in executive McCarthyism, where only hints are needed to indict, and circumstantial evidence and hearsay convicts. Although they had the opportunity to speak up beforehand, to exercise their rights as council members to be more deliberate in the process, they failed to do so and moved onto a campaign of petty subversion, with no stated goal other than “awareness.” Awareness of what? That there’s a group of people willing to throw anything conceivable against Mr. Walker against the wall in the hopes that it sticks?
The majority favoring Mr. Walker and their throng are not blameless, either. The pro-Walker faction on the council was quick to dismiss another strong candidate in the face of half-known and uninvestigated information. Despite his background being under the same specter of allegation, he was discarded without a second thought, while Mr. Walker received a free pass from the allegations he faces, bolstered by the gallery beseeching on his behalf as an infallible “revered dear leader”. The hasty, rationalized vote called by his champion President Jeff Miller made it a fait accompli.
What a mess.
The fact is that pending the completion of a thorough background check and negotiation of mutually agreeable employment terms, Jerry Walker will be the next village manager of Holly. We should be able to give him the earned trust he deserves as a new hire, but must now work with him with vigilance and skepticism due to unfounded innuendo. Instead of embarrassing and undermining the community further with this ridiculous inquisition, it’s time to either put up something substantial or put it to rest for good and move forward.
We also need to come to terms with the fact that the current Village Council has proven itself thoroughly incapable of conducting an executive search. This casts doubt on its ability to execute an agenda of progress for the Village of Holly in general, if such an agenda even exists.
Although there’s no way to go back and redo this painful process, the Village Council can take the steps now to repair its reputation and move forward. The council should adopt a prescribed process for future executive searches, incorporating universally accepted best practices; if this requires professional consultation or amendments to the Village Charter, so be it. But to think that hiring a municipal executive is simply an ongoing learning experience is both ignorant and arrogant and will perpetuate the same cycle of incompetence at every future hiring process.
Recognizing the severe failure in this hiring process and fixing it for the future is a small but significant step in unifying the Walker-ites and the Gang of Three, and proof that the council doesn’t want to just move beyond and forget past mistakes, but wants to ensure that things are done right in the future for the good of the community.
Holly has a great circus every summer. It doesn’t need to be in the council chambers, too.