LAS VEGAS, N.M. — A book club mandated for supervisors of a New Mexico county to teach leadership skills is drawing scrutiny over a Christian book.
That’s because the first book required for reading among San Miguel County department directors was Tony Dungy’s “The One-Year Uncommon Life Daily Challenge,” the Las Vegas Optic reported (https://goo.gl/FaFgNX)
The book by former Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy includes a daily devotional with a Bible verse. Dungy also gives reflections about Christianity.
San Miguel County Manager Vidal Martinez said it was a mistake to pick the book, and he’s making changes to the club aimed at teaching leadership.
There were concerns raised by other county staff that a mandated reading of a book involving a work that heavily quotes the Bible blurs the separation of church and state, Martinez said.
“I’m responsible for that,” he said. “I know there were some concerns. I needed to have more oversight over the titles selected.”
The controversy began after Martinez directed all eight department directors within the county government to obtain books on a monthly basis on the topic of leadership.
The department heads are picking the exact book on a rotating basis. While any of the county’s 136 employees can participate in the book group, the program is not optional for department directors, Martinez said.
“There is no mandate for anyone to purchase any books with their own money,” Martinez said.
The department heads are picking books on a rotating basis.
Martinez said for the rest of the cycle, which would end when the last of the eight directors picks a book in March of 2018, he has instructed them to select only secular leadership books.
A different department head picked a book for August titled “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Revised & Updated 2007,” which focuses on the psychology and sociology of business leadership, using charts and graphs in places.
Information from: Las Vegas Optic, http://www.lasvegasoptic.com