All posts in category Town staff

Bargaining Power

People love to feel special. Sales agents make a living by understanding the power of “just for you”: “I don’t usually do this, but just for you, I’ll …” It closes the deal and mitigates buyer’s remorse. But “just for you” would lose its value if there were no standards or rules to push back […]

I have a dream; do you?

Chapel Hill’s town manager Roger Stancil nailed it in his remarks at the close of the town employees’ celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The event took place at Hargraves Center just before lunch last Friday. The program included a dramatic re-enactment of Rosa Park’s story, starring Myra Evans of Parking Services; a musical […]

To a Healthy New Year

My husband and I gave each other matching colds for Christmas this year, not the gifts we had intended, but a result of getting out and into the community more than I have in years past. When it comes to germs, especially in the holiday season, I’ve tried not to give back. And that means […]

Free access or free money?

I’ve never been one to turn down free money, so when Chapel Hill Public Library director Susan Brown proposed changing the library’s Internet policy to block access to certain sites in exchange for becoming eligible for spending federal grants on technology, the tradeoff seemed reasonable. But she took ill the day she was to present […]

The Deciders

Recently I asked the town manager for an organizational flow chart of town staff that would show who was in charge of what. I received 18 pages of charts in response, most of which broke out the hierarchy of positions in each department. The collection led off, however, with a master chart of management levels. […]

Fireworks at stadium, not council meeting

Viewers expecting fireworks at the last Town Council meeting of the 2015-16 season turned off their TVs and computers disappointed. Though we had reserved time on June 29 for a spillover meeting should we not finish our agenda before the hour grew too late, the June 27 meeting got over comparatively early, thanks in part […]

Ask the experts

Lead, follow, or get out of the way. When it comes to working on the problem of not enough affordable housing, town and county elected officials would do well to choose Door #3. At the joint board meeting of county commissioners and Town Council members on June 2, county commissioner Bernadette Pelissier suggested forming a […]

Make time for budget talks

We need to talk — council members with one another and with key staff. By the end of June, we hope to pass a budget for Fiscal Year 2017, which starts July 1, and we still haven’t had those all-important discussions about the best way to spend taxpayers’ financial resources. Guaranteed we won’t agree on […]

Horsetrading at the Council Corral

Two weeks ago, Chapel Hill hired a new planning director, Ben Hitchings, who came to the April 11 Town Council meeting. Much to my surprise, he did not resign immediately; in fact, he participated in our work session two days later. That says he’s a man undaunted by challenges. In a nutshell — we embarrassed […]

Making the most of Ephesus-Fordham

Last week, someone using the name Jon Miller wrote to Town Council, concerned that proposed changes to the Ephesus-Fordham form-based code would weaken it. I responded that the modifications would strengthen it — taxpayers have a $10 million loan to repay from increased net tax revenue, and the four projects planned or underway won’t generate […]