Along the hallways of the Metro Courthouse, and in telephone conversations among the city’s political gossips, the rap on mayoral infant Bill Purcell has been that he isn’t doing anything. In the precious beginning days of his mayoralty, the skeptics charge, he has failed to articulate an agenda. By not proposing something big, he is squandering precious political capital. ”Where is the education plan? The mass transit solution? Where, indeed, is anything?“ they ask.
Given his pedigree, which is encoded with fairly high measures of goo-goo liberalism, one would have expected Bill Purcell, in his first days, to have done exactly that: propose some large government solution to some social ill. In fact, quite the opposite has taken place: Bill Purcell is showing himself to be a manager, one who wants to make Metro hum on all gears.
To begin with, Purcell has recruited a high level of talent to his administration. Finance director David Manning, who ran state government under former Gov. Ned McWherter, is now the city’s cold-blooded bean counter. From Vanderbilt University has come the taciturn Bill Phillips, the damage-controlling chief of staff. To undertake an ambitious affordable housing program, Purcell convinced Republican (and occasional nemesis) Bob Corker to lend a hand. This week, it was announced that Jeff Reynolds, a very effective state administrator in his own right, was being hired as the staffer to run the city’s housing program.
Purcell’s most effective ploys along the management front lines may have been not so much in the talent he has attracted, but in the people under whom he has placed sticks of dynamite and convinced to leave. Jim Luther, head of the Metro Benefit Board, and Sam McPherson, who ran General Services, have waved goodbye. Also on the exit ramp is Jeff Browning, who runs the Planning Commission and will hopefully vanish posthaste.
Purcell has visited schools, created an Office of Neighborhoods, and announced plans for a solid waste management plan within the year. But such acts are largely window dressing, little more than the transmogrification of campaign pledge into bureaucratic reality. Nevertheless, real progress has been made by Purcell in getting rid of Metro government’s dead wood and bringing in some top players. He is to be commended for it, and Metro will be the better for it.
I doubt she'd choke on yours.
The story on "the Lutheran," ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson, was from January. I was…
Bill, I agree. But you're messing with Betsy's MO.
That's cute, gast, and something he might have said.