From: Noel Taylor
Though I go to church with Mayor Kristen Brown’s challenger, I don’t know him and cannot speak to his character or skill set. What I do know is that his stated campaign goals address things that Brown has already accomplished and that the criticisms his campaign has voiced against Brown seem to hold no water.
As an example, the challenger calls for transparency in city government. I don’t know what he’s missing, but when I had concerns about funding cuts in the arts, I contacted Brown, expressed my concerns and received an invitation to meet with her.
When we met, she laid out the city budget spreadsheets on the table and provided me not only with extensive details but also with clear rationale – specifically that money spent needed to be accounted for not only in terms of where the money was going but also in terms of what value it would generate for the citizens of Columbus. That’s transparency.
Another example is comments about departed department heads. What the challenger’s campaign fails to mention is that, unlike most mayors, Brown kept existing department heads on board instead of replacing them with political appointees when she took office.
Some are team players and have served well. Some have continued their careers by moving on. Some took offense at the requirements she made and left. Some chose not to support the team and were replaced.
All in all, the turnover has been average for a change of administrations that crosses party lines, and the sour grapes expressed by some are typical of those who don’t get their way.
In dealings with employees, Gary Neville, my mentor at DSI more than 30 years ago, impressed upon me the value of working with known quantities in people and warned that going with unknowns could backfire. That has proven to be wise counsel.
Brown is our employee. Our city needed the benefits it has received during her current administration. I’m confident that she will continue the trend if we hire her again.