Friday, February 23, 2007

Mitch and the Bloggers

Random thoughts about today's blogger meeting with Mitch Johnson:


-- Mitch did not make a firm commitment to release all reports and all documentation concerning the Wray affair. "Maybe" is the best description that I can give you of his answer.

-- Mitch wants to avoid the question of whether David Wray asked for a private meeting with Mitch and City Council at any time in order that he might present his side of the story and answer questions.

-- He tip-toed very carefully around the matter of the Simkins PAC, saying only that he had met with members of the Pulpit Forum, who wanted to discuss the allegations against Wray.

Because of time constraints, I did not ask more questions about this matter, although his response deserved more attention.


-- The challenge by the city of the recent court decision that Randall Brady is entitled to be paid complete benefits is vindictive in nature, and is strictly designed to associate Brady's words with David Wray. We still do not know what actions Brady did or did not take in regard to the taped subject matter released earlier this week.

Mitch admitted that there was no written policy which covered a situation like this, and said that there was no way Brady's retirement could have been stopped. Hence, the rationalization for the effort.

He went on to say that the benefits the city wants to deny Brady are those over and above normal benefits.

There were MANY follow up questions that begged to be asked, but the Q&A session had run way long, and we needed to move on.

-- Mitch was not being straight in his descriptions of both the Willow Oaks and the Bryant incidents. I don't think there was any "conspiracy", but I do think some of the mis-information was done on purpose, and there is a good likelihood that one or both incidents were just plain mis-handled.

-- Finally, Mitch does not yet understand the blogosphere, and does not yet understand that many of his problems are of his own making.

I think he miscalculated his whole approach to the Wray situation, and he never expected the enormity of the problem he now faces.

-- The City Manager's office needs a full time Communications Director.

Listen to the audio transcript of the meeting here.

14 comments:

  1. Thanks for the comments, Bubba. I tried listening to the audio, but couldn't get more than 17 minutes.

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  2. Great to have met you, Bubba.

    Regarding the Simpkins PAC thing, it should be noted that when the vote was taken by council on whether or not to hire Johnson, the two
    PAC members on Council at the time voted no.

    The Manager is not beholden to the Simpkins PAC any more than he is to the local teacher's union. The manager serves at the pleasure of the Council. That is why Mitch gave you such a confused look when you asked that guestion.

    The belief that the Simpkin's PAC is unduly driving Greensboro politics is a reality only in the mind of Joe Guarino.

    Hoggard

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  3. I thought Mitch was quite clear about not meeting with the Simpkins PAC. He said he met with the Pulpit Forum, a different organization entirely.

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  4. by mr hoggard- "The belief that the Simpkin's PAC is unduly driving Greensboro politics is a reality only in the mind of Joe Guarino."

    I think many people would disagree with that statement.

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  5. "Regarding the Simpkins PAC thing, it should be noted that when the vote was taken by council on whether or not to hire Johnson, the two
    PAC members on Council at the time voted no."

    Be that as it may, it does not define how his relationship to the PAC has turned out.

    I should have asked him about the members of the Pulpit Forum and their relationships with the PAC, but as both Hoggard and JW can attest, we used up a lot of time in the Q&A, which left little time for the remainder of the agenda, and certainly not enough time to ask follow up questions that really needed to be asked.

    The questions I came prepared to ask would have taken a lot longer time to answer.

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  6. Fred Gregory was unable to get this comment to post, so I will paste it from email here:

    "Yeah the Willow Oaks and Bryant Electric Contracts were simple mishandling. Ha. Far more serious than things that cost David Wray his job. Mitch needs to move on.

    Mitch's answer to the question regarding Wray's request to meet with council and give his side of the story as well as answer unlimited questions was indeed odd
    and not legally sound. CA ??

    Thanks for attending and the report."

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  7. I wonder if Mitch should hold a monthly meeting similar to the one that you attended that lasts 2 hours +/-.

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  8. Unlike Tim I am a glutton for punishment and listened to the entire tape 3 times. ( Dear Lord, we do lose brain cells as we grow older!!) At any rate, Mitch danced around the questions very well I would say. He also wasted much of the time allotted to repeating the lyrics of the tune he was dancing to; repeatedly.

    Bubba’s is a good summation, maybe even a bit charitable. Thank you for taking the time to attend for the rest of us Bubba.

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  9. "I wonder if Mitch should hold a monthly meeting similar to the one that you attended that lasts 2 hours +/-."

    He probably should and could, but I don't think he would.

    The real test will come in what steps he takes to increase communications with the citizenry online as well as offline.

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  10. Yes, Bubba, you stood us well. Thanks. BTW, I'm contending there'll never be another one.

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  11. the city has a full-time Public Affairs office.

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  12. "....the city has a full-time Public Affairs office."

    .....which doesn't have the time or capacity to effectively engage in actual communications.

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  13. I'm back from a trip to Virginia to visit family (we got snowed in an extra day).

    Bubba thanks for attending, and answering my questions - in e-mail and here.

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