Decisions decisions

A few important decisions are hapenning this week...

74 acres north of Jones Ferry Road near Old Greensboro Highway will be permanently preserved to protect University Lake's watershed. That'll make a nice viewshed, too.
-OWASA to buy 74 acres at lake, 6/20/06

The Chapel Hill-Carrboro School Board will selecting it's newest member today at 6pm.
-School board to pick a new member, 6/21/06

And of course the Chapel Hill Town Council hopes to hire a new manager this weekend. Here's a little more information about the three white men in the running. (Thanks to the Town of Chapel Hill for photos.)

Frank Ragan
Deputy City Manager of Community Services in Aurora, CO
Roger Lane Stancil
former City Manager in Fayetteville, NC
Sean R. Stegall
Assistant City Manager in Elgin, IL

town bio, Herald Q &A
town bio, Herald Q &A
town bio, Herald Q &A

The only public forum with the manager candidates starts at 7pm tonight at Town Hall. I won't be there until after 8, so someone please take good notes... ;-)



I don't see why the perpetual use of descriptive terms "white men." I do see merit the original discussion--a valid discussion of valuing diversity. However, repeatedly using race and gender to describe these individuals borders on offensive to me.

If it was an injustice to have selected "three white men," I think the focus (by now) should have reverted back from the candidates and to the folks responsible for selecting them.

I think part of our progressive agenda should be to value our race and genders, but not let them define us--and not to define others by them. If there is residual disgust at their selection, I think we need to locate the proper place for it.

I think it's interesting that the audience seems to be mostly town employees, with a good handful of local politico/volunteers.

One firefighter asked the candidates if they would prioritize the fire department. All of them spoke about how important fire service is, but also said they couldn't know the specific needs o fthe department without more information.

The Mayor is now asking them about affordable housing and the need for employees to live in the communities they serve. Answer: everyone knows we're screwed. Stancil says to "think outdei the box." Ragan compared Chapel Hill to Colorado resort communiuties!

Joe Capowski is asking each candidate about communication between departments and the Council. Stegall says he encourages communication between department heads and the elected officials, while balancing the manager's need to know what's going on. Ragan agrees and elaborates. Stancil does the same. All of them spoke of the value of sharing information.

Janet Kagan asked a question about public art. Stancil began by sayong that Fayetteville has nothing like our Percent for Art program, but basically all of them said they would support the arts and cited experience doing so.

The Mayor read a written question about how to deal unsatisafactory staff performance, specifically at the director-level. Ragan says his city has a pay-for-performance system, but this raises equity issues that they also have to address. He also has a tough-but-fair (my words) approach. Stegall says the performance appraisal system in Elgin is broken. "I haven't had to fire naybody, they always fire themselves." Says he would probably change Chapel Hill's system. Stancil talks about clear communication, strategic vision, priorities.

All three of the candidates have remarked on how much they agree with each other and how repetitive their responses are getting. I think this just reflects that all of the finalists have simialr values because they were selected in part for their compatibility with Chapel Hill. They are all impressive in their own ways as well.

After hearing and seeing them, I am increasingly convinced that all three of these white men (that's for Jim) would make good managers for Chapel Hill.

Does anyone know who they picked for school board?

The public access channel will rebroadcast tonight's public forum for town manager candidates on Thursday June 22 at 9 am and 7 pm if anyone missed some or all of tonight's presentation. This according to Catherine Lazorko, Town Information Officer. You can email your thoughts to the Council at

The school board selected Annetta K. Streater.

(It came down to a 4-2 vote between Streater and Shang Yin.)

I didn't see or attend the meeting, but based on Ruby's notes and what I've seen in the news, the reason for the similarity of answers is the similarity of reasons for caution. I would have hoped that questioners might have gone more directly to the things that make Chapel Hill different from (rather than similar to) the communities where they've served before -- and the biggest, purplest elephant in the forum is the University. I'd hardly call Chapel Hill a resort town, except maybe insofar as there's a seasonal swell of population and an abiding problem with excess partying.......

However, although it's the Council that is the primary political organ that must deal with town-gown issues, there are going to be many, many moments in the evolution of Carolina North when the manager will be involved. Even if Ragan has been part of development of a medical park, he wasn't -- as far as I can tell -- dealing with a company town (although he spent several years in Bloomington, IN).

I am struggling to understand the very low level of interest in the recent school board appointment process and wonder if anyone would care to weigh in. On the surface the membership of the BOE should merit some attention with 11,000 students and an operating budget next year of 111 million dollars. Further, a fair portion of the reputation of Chapel Hill and Carrboro comes from the school system.

Leading up the the appointment there was one article in the CHN regarding the possibility of an Asian American candidate, a short discussion of that here on the OP, and that was pretty much it.

While the opening did entice 7 people to apply (myself included to be clear, jbdanner = Jeff Danner) other than a few friends of Shang Yin no one showed up at the applicate interviews and then at the actual appointment meeting there was me, a friend of mine, and the press (although Ms. Streater did apparently come later).

Reasons that I can think of for the apparent disinterest are:
- The lack of taxing authority
- The assumption that the school district has always performed reasonably well (whether or not that is true) and always will
- The lack of a polarizing issue at the moment

If anyone has a perspective to share I would be quite interested. Those of you on the OP appear to have a better pulse on the community that I. The election poll in November was a rather accurate predictor of my performance.

Perhaps no answer in the course of two weeks was the most accurate answer of all. Post a question about why a particular topic attracts no interest and I suppose silence is a rather poetic answer.

I have gained no further understanding, but at least I know my thesis was correct.

Poetic indeed. I can only assume that you are right on all three points. At the debates that I attended last year it seemed like school board questions were offered up as a matter of courtesy and not because there was any real debate about the issues. For my own part, my kids aren't in school yet and while I'm focusing my attention elsewhere for now.

Good on ya for continuing to fight for a spot on the school board.


While I agree with #2 & #3 of your reasons for 'the apparent disinterest' in the appointment process, I don't agree with the 'lack of taxing authority' as a reason. We've had too many controversies over schooling issues in the past and the school board has never had taxing authority.

One person can't make much difference on a board that is so tightly controlled by staff. When there are 3+ openings, the opportunity/threat of real power shift is a possibility. With 1 person, the status quo remains intact, regardless of who the individual is.

Also--it IS summer--and people are out of town, or busy...and for those with kids still IN school--the schools have shifted down the priority list. For many parents, once school is out, "out of sight out of mind."

Finally--I think Terri may have hit the nail on the head. Not much difference one appointed board member can make. Not even a chance for voters to demonstrate they WANT a change...

melanie/personally FINISHED with the schools/last kid graduated//East's Senior Prank ROCKED


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