The Buck Stops Locally (and Always Has) | FREE WHITEWATER

The Buck Stops Locally (and Always Has)

Today, Whitewater’s Police and Fire Commission will interview candidates for Whitewater’s next police chief. It’s been an in-house hiring process, and just three months ago some members of our PFC praised this approach over a consultant-driven method (as we had at the time of our last hiring).

For Whitewater, and other places, the distinction between in-house processes is sometimes slight, almost negligible (although it needn’t be).

Every process here has, fundamentally, been a local one – what local officials wanted, what local officials accepted, those whom local officials selected.

The buck stops within the city limits, and always has. If anyone in Whitewater feels that a prior hiring process produced a poor result, one should be clear that the fault is local. Indeed, to see how consultants tailor their work to (low) local expectations, one need only consider the hiring consultant for Beverly Kopper. See The Dark, Futile Dream and The Last Inside Accounts (the underlying story from the Daily Union is simultaneously revealing and clueless: a self parody without the awareness of one).

When Coan came back (again), when Otterbacher was hired, and during the tenure of those officials and others, oversight or its lack has always been a local matter of local residents. Neither consultants, nor outsiders, nor foreigners, nor Martians are responsible for Whitewater’s present circumstances.

(Indeed, some of the same people who brought Coan back, or who hired Otterbacher, are part of this hiring process. As for the last time Whitewater hired a police chief, in 2011Any process where local oversight is in the hands of Facebook friends and town buddies will prove deficient.)

Since this website’s first publication, Whitewater has seen two city managers, three university chancellors, four district administrators, numerous local reporters, and dozens of other public officials.

One hopes for the best – truly – even now. Yet, in any event, the responsibility for selecting local officials was, is, and will always fall on those within the city limits.

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