Alexandria To the Editor:
Ron Rigby and others maintain that it is unreasonable to ask Mayor Euille to debate his mayoral opponent, Andrew Macdonald, for more than a few minutes at any debate. They say that the Mayor is too busy “running the city” or “The Mayor has a city to run.”
They conjure up an image of Mayor Euille rushing out every morning to run the street sweeper. Then he puts in a few hours using his business acumen to audit the city’s tax receipts, followed by a few more demanding tasks until he drags himself home long after the hour when citizens might be available to listen to a debate.
As the Mayor’s supporters know or certainly should know, Alexandria has a Council-Manager form of government. Just last December the Mayor and the City Council hired Mr. Rashad Young as our newest city manager. He’s paid around $245,000 a year to run the city. The Mayor and Council hired him and set his salary. When they did that, I am sure they were thinking that Mr. Young has the talent that all first rate civil servants possess. That is the talent to keep problems from reaching the level that forces elected officials to intervene. So the entire premise that the Mayor is on call 24/7 as the city’s principal management official is ludicrous.
The Mayor does, however, have an important job, maybe the most important job in the city. He is Alexandria’s leader, the person who more than anyone else sets the policy and direction of the city. He’s held this job for nine years. Now he is refusing to come before the voters and account for his decisions and describe his hopes for the city’s future in a true one on one debate with his opponent. He is insisting that any debate time limit allowing for more than a few competing sound bites is too long. This simply shows a lack of regard for voters and for the democratic process.