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Monday, April 1, 2013


This is a picture of Charlotte’s new City Manager, Ron Carlee, riding a county-owned tricycle in his former position in Arlington, VA.  (photo credit: Sun Gazette in Arlington)

Press reports from Charlotte state that Carlee will have a city car and a $290,000 base salary.

Carlee starts his new position on April Fool’s Day and will be sworn in before tonight’s City Council meeting.

Other items on the agenda include:

CITY COUNCIL WORKSHOP Agenda for Monday, April 1, 2013

5:00 p.m. Dinner
5:15 p.m. Swearing in of City Manager
5:30 p.m. Community Safety: Citizens Review Board Update
6:30 p.m. Economic Development: Collaborative Partnership for Expanding Second Harvest Food Bank
7:00 p.m. Housing & Neighborhood Development: Rental Subsidy Program
7:30 p.m. Citizens Forum Room 267 at the Government Center

Some details, including a hot topic: discussion of the Citizens Review Board, recently in the local paper because of citizens who believe the Board has not been addressing citizen complaints about the Police Department correctly.  A group called C-R-B Reform Now plans to meet at 6:45 p.m. at the Government Center, then go before Council at 7:30.  They will wear all black to identify themselves.  More information can be found at

TOPIC: Citizens Review Board Update   COUNCIL FOCUS AREA: Community Safety

Willie Ratchford, Community Relations,
Gregory West, Citizens Review Board Chairman
Julian Wright, Attorney for the Citizens Review Board
Rodney Monroe, Chief of Police

This presentation will provide an overview of the Citizens Review Board and its
role in CMPD’s disciplinary process. Topics to be covered include:
Responsibilities of the Citizens Review Board
Citizens Review Board Process
Cases Appealed to the Citizens Review Board
CMPD Discipline Process
Changes in CMPD discipline process, departmental policies, and training
Other models for citizen oversight of police

None. This presentation is for informational purposes only.

Collaborative Partnership for Expanding the Second Harvest Food Bank - Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina operates out of a County-owned facility on Spratt Street on property adjacent to the City’s Building Services Offices. Second Harvest desires to expand their existing facility and to provide additional parking for delivery trucks and clients.

Rental Subsidy Program - A rental subsidy program would pay the owner of a multi-family housing development or an agency the difference between the tenant’s contribution (30 percent of adjusted income) and the monthly rental rate over a predetermined period of time with the ultimate goal of moving the household to self-sufficiency.


See some of Carlee’s thoughts about municipal management at this Huffington Post blog post “City/County Managers: More than Technocrats.”

Here is a portion of his ideas presented in that post:

While the business of local government is the retail delivery of services, local government is not a business. This was a distinction I always made to new employees when I was a manager and a point that I continue make with my students. I ask them: what is the difference between local government and a private business? The answer lies in the underlying purpose of each entity; in the end success is measured differently.
In a private business the single most important metric is profit, sustained over a long period of time. In contrast, most local government transactions are indirect; payment of services comes through taxes that are collected separately and apart from any direct receipt of a service. There is actually an incentive to keep taxes, and thus revenue, down.
No, local governments are not about making profit; they are about making community.
Local governments do not provide services just for the sake of providing services. A municipal corporation strives for a whole that is greater than the sum of the parts: a community where people want to live, work, do business, visit, and play.
For example, people want a safe community. A safe community, however, is not the result of a single service, such as police. Police are certainly important, but so are the character of the neighborhoods, the schools, the streets, and the parks. A feeling and a reality of safety are achieved through complex interaction across many different services.
At the same time, each of the individual services has to be managed effectively. Like a private corporation, local governments have customers and a responsibility to provide good customer service, have quality control, and provide good value. This is where professional management becomes essential; i.e., in the competent delivery of services.
An encouraging sign can be found in another Carlee’s Huffington Post blog, in this post where he hashes out the case of investigative journalism by the L.A. Times about Bell, CA.  Officials the LA suburb of Bell—a small town of less than 3 square miles and less than 40,000 population--had “…plunder(ed) the city coffers by receiving salaries that were obscene: city administrator $788K; assistant administrator $376K; police chief $457K,” leaving the city nearly broke.  Carlee goes on to praise to the LA Times for exposing the corruption:

As public officials, we have all had our issues with the press, especially when reporting is superficial and slanted. Truthfully, however, as a society we critically need the press. And, public officials who care about honesty also critically need the press, too. The only thing worse than having the press look over your shoulder all the time is not having the press looking over any shoulders any of the time. Unfortunately, professional journalism is an institution at significant risk.

May we hope his actions line up with his words?  Even more, will the local press in Charlotte become more devoted to honest, unbiased evaluation and to investigative reporting? 

Welcome and Good Luck to Ron Carlee.  

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