Business as Usual ?

With the retirement of City Manager Bill Dollar the City of Garland is in a position to bring in someone with experience in city management and a new perspective. While neighboring cities like Rowlett and Richardson are bursting with new development, Garland appears stagnant.

Empty warehouses, abandoned manufacturing sites and vacant strip malls are evidence of our city’s inability to attract new businesses. The good and dedicated members of our city’s administration have done their best to grow Garland, but it hasn’t worked.

Both Rowlett and Richardson reached outside their ranks when hiring city managers and found individuals with experience in other cities. To replace Mr. Dollar with a member of his cadre is perpetuating business as usual.

The new City Manager will be chosen by the City Council, led by Mayor Douglas Athas. One council member has already stated publicly that recruiting from outside would “take too long” and would upset projects already in progress. It’s that very mentality that has gotten us where we are today.

Our citizens deserve more than what they’re getting for their tax dollars. They deserve a better school system, updated and fully manned police and fire departments, and an environment that supports and provides the retail and recreational facilities that they now drive out of town to find. We also have a community college campus paid for by our citizens, who expected to be able to send their children to our local Richland College.  That building sits vacant, without faculty or student body. Our Chamber of Commerce occupies an office suite on one side of that structure. Those tax dollars, being spent elsewhere, could contribute to the funding of the restoration of our crumbling infrastructure.

Mr. Dollar, bless his heart, served as an employee of the City of Garland for 44 years! He started out with the title of Design Engineer and worked his way up to City Manager where he has served for the past 12 years. By the time he reached the top rung on the ladder he no doubt knew everything there was to know about the goings on at City Hall.  On May 31, 2015 Dollar will embark on his well earned retirement journey.

It appears that the City Council has already decided to reach down and elevate another long-time employee to the top spot on that proverbial ladder. Rather than acting in the best interest of their constituents, they’re going to take the easy way out, protect their relationships with current staff members and promote their own agendas.

For one brief, golden moment it looked like we may have a chance to shed the image of “Garland” and “Zombieland” and take a step toward becoming a vital, 21st Century city. It is not too late to contact your representative on the City Council and let him or her know our thoughts. Mayor Douglas Athas is on Facebook and can be contacted by phone or email. All contact information can be found on the City of Garland website.

Nancy Ghirla

The garland/Rowlett Messenger