What Frisco really wants
Everybody’s being vague about exactly why Frisco town manager Alan Briley was fired late Tuesday night, but if you read between the lines, which we like to do, you can find a direct message.
The town council wants a leader, not a manager.
The reasons are quite clear. Sales tax revenues are going south. It’s been so bad that the leveling of losses is considered good news.
Wal-Mart is under siege from Silverthorne’s Target store. Retail is hardly thriving on Main Street. Restaurateurs are hanging on by their fingernails, as the debate about the Barbecue Challenge revealed.
Meanwhile, the cost of general government has gone up drastically in the past few years, driven in a large part by the cost of a generous health insurance policy that even covers elected officials. The cost of covering elected officials is about $100,000 in itself.
In the face of the rising cost of government and declining sales tax revenues, the town ditched an arrangement that split sales tax revenues, allocating about half to general government and half to capital projects.
Capital budgets used to be almost $3 million a year, although the council was hard pressed to spend it all. In the current proposed 2004 budget, capital spending is put at just more than $1 million.
Between sales tax erosion and reallocation, about $2 million has disappeared that could have been used to build many amenities envisioned for the Peninsula Recreation Area and in the Recreation and Parks Master Plan.
None of these circumstances were Briley’s fault and he certainly didn’t help himself in recent weeks by doing the right thing and telling councilmembers their health benefits were not legal because of a paperwork snafu dating to 1996.
That the council wants a leader, not a manager, was made clear by Councilmember Dede Dighero-Tuso.
In the middle of a press conference where more was unsaid than explained, Dighero-Tuso finally injected a dose of candor.
“We’re looking for dynamics, energy, input. We’ll have high demands for our new town manager. I want new ideas. We need ideas, we need energy,” she said.
And there you have it. The town council wants a dynamo, not a caretaker – two distinctive skill sets. If that person can be found, we hope councilmembers can handle the change.
What’s the saying about getting what you wish for ?
Opinions published in this space are formulated by members of the Summit Daily News editorial board: Michael
Bennett, Jim Pokrandt, Jason Starr, Rachel Toth, Reid Williams, Kim Nicoletti and Martha Lunsky.
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