As the Oxford Village Council continues its search for a new manager, I’d like to offer my two cents.
For what it’s worth, I really liked Timothy McLean, the current manager of the City of Wayland. Council interviewed him during a special meeting on June 15.
I have a good feeling about him. I found his honesty to be quite refreshing.
Maybe that’s because I’ve witnessed so little honesty at the village hall in my 18 years covering that beat.
“When you work with the public, when you give your word, you have to keep it,” McLean told council. “I think if you don’t have honesty and integrity, then you have no place in public service.”
Hear, hear! I wish more public officials felt this way and practiced what they preached instead of just paying lip service to it.
When asked to rank his leadership skills on a scale of 1-to-10, he gave himself a 6.5. McLean could have easily oversold his skills like a carnival barker, but he didn’t. He was honest and explained his score.
“As a first-time manager, I’ve made my lion’s share of mistakes and I like to think that I’ve learned from each one of them,” he said. “I don’t see that 6.5 as being something that’s going to be there for much longer.”
I found McLean’s passion for his work to be worthy of respect and praise. He appears to truly love what he does and when he cares about a community, he seems to commit himself to it 100 percent.
“I (went into) public service because I wanted to leave a community better than I found it,” he said. “I don’t want a regular 9-5 job. I want a job that, to me, has purpose. And I don’t see anything that gives me more purpose than doing what I do every day at city hall.
“There’s days where I get in the office at 7 in the morning and I’m there till 10 o’clock at night. Yeah, it tires you out, but it’s what I live to do. I don’t view it as a 40-hour-a-week job. (When) I leave work at the end of the day, I don’t stop being the city manager of Wayland. I figure once you step into that role, you are that role. You eat, sleep, breathe that role. I don’t view myself as ever being off-the-clock. And I view that as a strength.”
A man after my own heart.
At no point during McLean’s interview did I get the sense he was just telling council what it wanted to hear. Too often the people at that podium are just playing to the crowd. He wasn’t. His words were heartfelt, not hollow.
McLean came across as sincere and sincerity in government is a very rare thing. Catching a glimpse of it is like stumbling across Bigfoot and a unicorm waltzing beneath the lights of a flying saucer while the Loch Ness Monster plays the harpsichord.
He’s young. He’s eager. He has good credentials. He doesn’t think he knows it all. He seems willing to listen and learn. I sensed no arrogance in him, only humility.
“I don’t see myself as a guy that comes in and says, ‘I know it all. You’re doing it wrong. We have to do it (like) this, this and this,’” McLean said. “I need to take the time to work with everybody to find out what are the things that we’re doing well and continue to build on (them).”
Best of all, McLean speaks clearly and concisely. He doesn’t mumble like his mouth is full of marbles in order to confuse listeners and evade questions.
And he doesn’t make balloon animals.
I asked. We need a manager, not a clown.
I think McLean could be just the thing to breathe new life into the rotting corpse that is village government. He definitely merits further consideration.
It sure would be nice to have a manager who’s ethical, trustworthy, hard-working and listens to council and carries out its wishes to the letter. It would also be nice to have one that didn’t cut his political teeth in a corrupt, urban cesspool. Why not try something new?
That being said, council probably won’t hire McLean. Not because of any failing on his part, mind you.
It’s just been my experience that whenever the village has a choice between hiring the right person and hiring the wrong person, it usually does the latter with gusto.
If you want a recent example, look no further than the last person to which the Downtown Development Authority offered a job.
I rest my case.