ACHTUNG: This is not a “fair and balanced” article. It is an editorial by the editor.
Coldwater varsity basketball coach Fred Hobart made a striking comment in the heat of a basketball battle between his Cardinals and Albion High School in January 1979. Hobart was whistled for a technical foul because he stood up and walked along the sideline to give instructions on what play he wanted his team to run offensively.
He received the tech because he violated the rule then that confined coaches to their benches. Hobart acknowledged he was guilty, but asserted, “Good refereeing is an art, not a science.”
I believe Hobart’s protest applies to the Wayland City Council’s failure last month to appoint Natalie Garcia as interim director of the local Main Street program through the Downtown Development Authority.
Garcia at first appeared to be approved in a vote for the temporary post, but the city charter revealed that it is illegal to hire anyone who is related to a city official unless the council approves it unanimously. She was confirmed by a 5-1 vote, with Tracy Bivens dissenting, so the charter rule negated her appointment.
The proposal to hire Garcia as interim was only to secure someone in place until a permanent director can be found. DDA Director Teryl Sheilds had resigned the post earlier this winter.
I understand the desirability of avoiding nepotism in local government, but this appeared to be a special case. I think it would have been better to approve Garcia because it would be for an indefinite brief period until a permanent director can be found.
Making things worse, the annual Main Street celebration, Wayland’s showcase event to bring people downtown, is scheduled to take place July 16. Without a director in charge of the planning, it will be even more difficult to have the event, which several years ago replaced the old Summerfest celebrations.
Ms. Garcia, wife of Councilman Abe Garcia, lives in this community and is blessed with marketing, advertising, speaking and promotion skills on her impressive resume. Because it’s only a temporary gig for her, it seems to be prudent to let her do the job until a permanent hire can be accomplished.
Apparently, quality public service is an art, not a science.