How could the city manager have avoided public disagreement with the planning director?

For this week’s blackboard discussion, I’d like you to read & consider “Town and Gown” in “Managing Local Government:  Cases in Effectiveness”. As we have discussed in class planning and community development related issues can be amongst the most vexing for City Managers. Building on our class discussion, please craft a brief response to the questions below, which stem from the case. Remember that this is a case study review and I am not as concerned with “accuracy” in the traditional sense, I am more interested in your ability to reflect on the situation and provide a reasoned response. Please limit your post to no more than 2-3 paragraphs.

1- How could the city manager have avoided public disagreement with the planning director?

2- At this point should the City Manager …

– Ignore the planning director’s public disagreement and chalk up his opposition to the director’s sense of professionalism?

– Confront and discipline the planning director over his public disagreement?

– Fire the planning director?

– Reexamine his relationship with his department heads?

3- Do you think the city manager’s attempts to create a cooperative environment between university and neighborhood interests are more important than the technical requirements of the zoning code?

4- What interests do the four groups of stakeholders—university, downtown busi-ness owners, neighborhood activists, and the cityshare? And what interests do you think they might disagree on?

5- In general, what are other scenarios in which a technical expert is likely to differ with the city manager?

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