Northwest NEWS

June 22, 1998


Is the fault with the city manager or the city council?

   I read with interest your recent headline article about the "difficulties" that our current city manager, Mr. Roy Rainey, seems to be having with the city council and staffers. I submit that this is symptomatic of what's wrong with the council, more than what's wrong with Mr. Rainey.
   Having worked with Mr. Rainey on a couple of issues, I find him to be refreshingly candid. A bit rough sometimes, but real. He is a bottom line guy, intelligent and gutsy, looking for results and I suspect he doesn't suffer fools gladly. I believe he has more experience than anyone else in our entire city government structure. Roy's difficulty is that he's not figured out how to be politically correct. And the council would prefer someone who'll roll over like a puppy dog when they bark at him.
   I'd like to point out that Mr. Rainey came out of retirement, having been the very successful city manager of Sun Valley, Idaho for a number of years. Woodinville found him, persuaded him to take the job on an interim basis (after they booted the last city manager because of "difficulties") and lived with him for about a year. At that point, the city council decided to conduct a search to find a new candidate for a permanent city manager, spending lots and lots of money for a consultant. There were, I believe, five people interviewed intensively, along with spouses. In the end, none were hired.
   The council decided that they wanted to offer Mr. Rainey the position on a permanent basis. And now, a year later, they seem to have changed their minds? Is anyone out there listening to what's going on here?
   Such is the nebulous nature of politics in a small town. Ours, I submit, is simply a bit worse than most. I'd be inclined to call it management by whichever way the wind is blowing on the council's part. It's kind of like some of the city ordinances around here: they're enforced if it's pretty much ok with everybody and doesn't upset any of the big players.
   Roy has always looked out for the taxpayer's money and demanded results from departments in the city. He can be diplomatic, but I expect he's stepped on a few toes. I would like to remind the council of the tradition in Great Britain's parliamentary system of having a "loyal opposition." Roy is loyal to Woodinville and shouldn't be thrown in the dumpster because somebody doesn't like his "management style" or some other 90's touchy feely p.c. kind of offense. He's a real asset to this city. Keep him around. Listen to him. Occasionally be aggravated. Deal with it.
   Jeff Boswell, owner of The Golden Goat