Bill Shanahan, York Countys new manager, started his job this week vowing to take a collaborative approach with both the county council and the county staff. Council members need to do the same.
As we have said before, Shanahans hiring creates an opportunity for York County Council to reset its relationship with the administration. Before Jim Baker, the former manager, left earlier this year, he complained about the professionalism of some council members. He specifically pointed to council members who criticized staffers during public meetings.
Its crucial for York County residents that their leaders work together to meet the countys challenges. With the economy picking up, managing growth is crucial again. Unemployment remains stubbornly high, which means economic development must be a priority. The efficiency of York Countys ambulance services must be improved.
Those are just a few of the issues facing our county. They wont be resolved if the administration and the council are at odds.
Bakers relationship with the county council clearly became contentious. Early last year, Councilman Curwood Chappell announced during a council meeting that hed cleaned up the county staff and managers office three times. It was time to do it again, he said.
If you dont clean house, council, its going to be disastrous.
The current council members now have their own manager in office. After hiring Shanahan in August, Chairman Britt Blackwell and others professed high confidence in their choice. Some of the council members felt he just glowed, talking from the heart, Blackwell said.
While we previously questioned the overall quality of the four finalists to replace Baker, we believe Shanahan was clearly the most qualified of the group. A U.S. Air Force veteran, he served two years as deputy administrator for the city of Augusta, Ga.
Were encouraged by how he plans to approach the job. The focus now is on county council. If Chappell and his colleagues cant work with Shanahan, voters will correctly wonder if the council cant hire good people or if it simply cant work with others.