In re-launching the Milton Coalition blog, to support my conclusions and recommendations, I will be providing citizens with email correspondence, texts, voicemails, and even a few hand-written notes. I have kept every scrap of documentation from my civic activities. (This will prove decidedly inconvenient and uncomfortable for some city officials.)
Following is an email exchange with Steve Krokoff, the City Manager, which is typical of exchanges I’ve had with the City Attorney, Mayor, and most council members (especially Council Member Laura Bentley). I provide this email because it concisely summarizes my reasons for getting into city politics, staying in city politics, and most importantly, my deep passion/care for good governance. To sum up, how things get done in Milton is much more important than what things get done. My long experience with my clients has taught me that good outcomes (i.e., what gets done) are inevitably the result of good processes (i.e., how things get done). To achieve good outcomes, you have work hard to implement and consistently execute good processes. Good processes are characterized by honesty, fairness, transparency, rigor, and accountability. And mostly importantly, a good process upholds the rule of law. If suboptimal outcomes occur, then processes should be revised . . . rather than circumvented.
There is danger, and ultimately failure, in ignoring or circumventing good governance to achieve so-called good outcomes, which predictably usually promote the interests of politicians and their friends/family but not citizens’ interests. Things have gone badly wrong in Milton because certain politicians—some of whom regretfully I supported—have ignored our laws and have abused/disregarded established city processes and good governance principles to promote their own personal agendas or friends/family’s agendas. And what these politicians fundamentally do not understand is that the ultimate good outcome—and the basis for all other truly good outcomes–is trust and confidence in government. Such trust is hard to gain and easy to lose . . . it takes but a few big lies (and some council members have told some whoppers). In fact, big lies by some city council members in Milton have caused trust and confidence in local government to dramatically decline, causing increasing division among citizens. Milton is doomed to divisiveness until we elect officials that are passionate about principles and process and act on that passion.
One glaring example of abuse of process (and a resulting loss of trust) is council’s practice of allowing developers to bastardize use permits with variances (exceptions to zoning laws) to put properties to use in ways contrary to the law, reasonable expectations of citizens, and Milton’s rural character. Granting such variances sets legal precedents that ensure that Milton City Council’s poor decisions metastasize across the community. In future posts, I will cite specific examples of process abuses (and their reverberations across the community) and call out particular politicians and government officials for their roles in eroding public trust.
Advocating For Good Governance,
RE: Congratulations on Your Appointment
Steven Krokoff <Steven.Krokoff@cityofmiltonga.us>
Fri 7/15/2016 3:20 PM
Thank you very much, Tim. Based on what you have said, I believe that we are very much like-minded. I have almost 25 years in public service with over a decade in top leadership roles. Much of the success that I have been a part of has been rooted in forming outstanding leadership teams and inspiring public trust and confidence. I am confident that we can achieve all of what you seek for Milton and more. I look forward to working with you as well. Have a great weekend.
City Manager/Interim-Chief of Police
From: Tim Becker
Sent: Wednesday, July 13, 2016 7:15 PM
To: Steven Krokoff <Steven.Krokoff@cityofmiltonga.us>
Subject: Congratulations on Your Appointment
Congratulations on your appointment to City Manager. I think the City made a good and wise choice.
I look forward to working with you.
Please understand that my primary interest is in City processes. I strongly believe that if our processes are fair, rigorous, honest, and transparent, the City will achieve the right outcomes . . . which may not be the outcomes I would prefer. If we get the process right, then citizens will have trust and confidence in our City government. This is critical. I know this to be true based on my 30+ years in the military and in business.
I wish you success in your new job. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if I can help you in any way.
With deep civic pride,
The Milton Coalition