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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Mayor: Portsmouth Needs "Professional Help" to Avoid Questionable Comments

It's time for another edition of Portsmouth City Council Follies.

In this report, Mayor Kalb addresses his recent controversial public recommendations for City Manager Derek Allen -- “Lose a couple of pounds, practice stress management and find a doctor to prescribe Viagra.”

Here is Kalb's reason for the written reference to a city manager he assumes to be overweight, stressed, and prone to E.D. --

“I realize that because of an unprofessional comment that I made on my evaluation form for the city manager that perhaps some of you considered that I didn’t take the evaluation process very seriously,” Kalb said. “I scored each question only after carefully reflecting and giving serious consideration to the questions. I would hope my numbers and my totals would reflect my proper scoring.”

So, it seems the Mayor is serious about his numbers but regretful about his words -- kind of mixed bag of serious and laughable?

Kalb defended his scoring by saying, “Overall my scores and my comments show that I’m very satisfied with the city manager’s performance and have no big concerns there. My biggest concern and disappointment wasn’t with the person being evaluated but with the evaluation process itself.”

Well ...

Kalb said city council “failed miserably on planning.” Since this is not uncommon procedure at city hall, a ring of truth echoed in his sentiment.

Yet, there is more ...

Perhaps something nefarious in the evaluation process caused the Mayor to write his bawdy comments. He said "council should have sought professional guidance from the start allowing for their questions and concerns to be addressed before the evaluation began."

Professional guidance for council? Some have been suggesting for years that council members should seek much-needed guidance. But, I believe Kalb was referring to help other than psychological assistance. I wonder who is qualified to guide council concerning what to say in a critical evaluation?

Then ...

The Mayor revealed his view of anonymity about who said what about the City Manager's performance. Still blaming the evaluation, he said important information was lacking concerning how the rating was to be revealed. He asked about concerns and said, "When would the city manager be made aware of the evaluation contents or would he even be made aware of the individual comments and who they were from?”

So ...

It sounds as if Kalb wanted to have a little "Good Old Boy" fun with his privacy secured from the City Manager and from the public. Ah, ha -- his evaluation preference may be for the unpleasant, anonymous poison pen letter approach. "No one is going to know who said this, so I'll just be flippant."

Kalb said when they were dealing with open records laws it was a completely different process.

“I didn’t consider it fair to either party that the news media had the evaluations for review before the city manager,” he stated.

I wonder ...

Is the mayor blaming a leak from someone in city chambers for making the public aware of his pointed written comments? Who exactly is seeking what agenda when, and why would the parties be doing so? Questions, questions, and more questions!

Graciously ...

Kalb said he would accept responsibility for what he termed “a failed evaluation process.”

City Manager Allen (I wonder what he is really thinking?) said he anticipates the process will go much smoother next year (uh, huh), and that, for now, he "is interested not only in discussing the categories in which he was scored a five but in discussing the categories in which he scored ones also."

You see ...

All of the questionable comments communicated to Allen were due to a "fail." In this case, one Acting-Mayor was failed by not comprehending that his own less-than-favorable suggestions would be attributed directly to him, viewed by the City Manager, discussed by the entire council, and distributed by local media to a shocked public.

Yep ...

It doesn't take a genius to "smell what's cooking" here. The popular "Sorry, but it's not my fault" mentality is common political maneuvering in a game of "Where Does the Buck Stop?" Blaming planning committees and the process of evaluation clears one of all responsibility for any wrong behavior. And, taking things seriously in a rather unserious manner must be acknowledged as "business as usual" ... if you think you won't get caught.

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