"Hope Mr Harden is as good as he seems on paper and sounds in person."

Dear Mayor and City Council,
Congratulations on your selection of David Harden as Interim City Manager.  Dianne and I sat in the audience during the interview process and were impressed with his general demeanor as well as his specific answers to your questions.  While some of my recollections of his statements may be slightly out of context, I heard him say that:
Character is important, you either have it or you don’t,
Maintaining transparency is very important and is the nature of local government today,
Everyone on the Council will get the same information from him,
Accessibility to the manager’s office is necessary,
Internal controls in the City need to be addressed, and
We can never be like we were in the past.
These are all worthwhile positions and should make Mr Harden a welcome change as City Manager.  We were also impressed with his characterization of himself as a “detail person” who likes to get into the “nitty-gritty of things” and as someone who will meet with all City employees as soon as possible.  It is along these latter lines that I think the Council can greatly benefit from Mr Harden’s tenure at the City.  He will no doubt learn much of both good and bad at City Hall in his six to nine months with us and, since he has no desire to continue as permanent City Manager, will be in a good position to give Council an honest appraisal of what he finds untarnished by any possible future benefits.
I personally would have liked the City to fill the interim Manager position from within the ranks but I also understand the unusual situation in which the City finds itself these days.  Oh well, it’s only money.  Even though Dianne and I both liked Mr Harden best of the finalists, neither one of us thought that you, as Council, would have picked him.  We made our usual bet with each other (loser buys dinner at the Wasabi Bowl) and she picked candidate #3 while I picked candidate #4 as your likely choices.  Nice to be proven wrong.  Hope Mr Harden is as good as he seems on paper and sounds in person.
Mike Gardner
618 Ruth St
Port Orange, FL  32127

5 thoughts on “"Hope Mr Harden is as good as he seems on paper and sounds in person."

  • August 15, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    Mike, I totally agree with you. I do hope he turns out to be as he indicated to the city council. I forget, did the Mayor vote Mr. Harden as his number 1 choice? — hank springer

  • August 15, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    I personally liked Mr. Harden and thougt early on that he was a good candidate. I sincerely hope I am right.
    My suggestion to Mr. Harden is to go way,back and read ALL OF THE BLOGS from when this fiasco all first started.
    If he reads them ALL AND IS AN UNBIASED PERSON HE WILL BE ABLE TO GET A PRETTY GOOD PICTURE OF WHAT HAS BEEN HAPPENING AND IS STILL HAPPENING IN PORT ORANGE. Employees and citizens alike have put together a cohesive account and if he is truly going to get the city out of it’s current mess he has to read the meat and potatoes first.

  • August 18, 2014 at 11:45 pm

    One thing that Mr. Harden said during his interview that jumped out at me if I remember the gist of his statement, is that character is the most important quality of his chosen staff, and that you can teach your staff other skill sets but character is something you either have or you do not.
    That reminds me of the movie Brubaker starring Robert Redford. Brubaker was the new prison Warden that came into the prison covertly as a prisoner. He wanted to get the inside lowdown and see where the corruption was. Once he announced himself as the warden the status quo lackeys came out of the woodwork to announce their support of him to ensure that the status quo would continue, Brubaker saw right through it and was committed to ensure that real reform would be implemented. This took courage and real character from Brubaker and it was not easy to derail the status quo. When the inmates with character realized they had a true leader that could see thru the obsequious status quo they backed him to the end.
    Mr. Harden was a captain in the Navy reserve, hopefully he has the honor of a military man and is not a FCCMA political lackey. He has an opportunity to do something honorable as opposed to political in his short stint here and many will be waiting with baiting breath in hopes that he is a man of honor. If Mr. Harden demonstrates that he is a man of honor there are many people in this organization that will support his mission.

  • August 19, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    Great analogy there !


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