The canonization of Saint Patrick Urich
By the time you read this, Patrick Urich will have been hired as the new city manager for the City of Peoria. It’s a done deal. You don’t think that when he announced he was leaving his post as Peoria County Administrator without already having a job officially lined up that he didn’t have a job unofficially lined up, did you?
In fact, the City Council is so convinced that Urich is the person for the job, they didn’t even bother with a formal search. They just decided to set up interviews with him. Well, who needs transparency in government anyway? It just gets in the way.
To listen to his supporters, Urich is nothing short of Saint Patrick, an administrator with divine powers not possessed by any City of Peoria administrator, ever. They say that the council is well-run compared to the city. The reality is that the city is responsible for fixing problems the county does not face, at least not to the same extent.
City managers are hired to be fired in Peoria. That says more about how city government is structured compared to the county. County Board members are elected in a partisan vote, and the party that wins the most seats gets to elect the board chairman. The chairman, in turn, puts who he wants on choice committees. In other words, someone elected is in charge. The administrator clearly knows that which members’ agendas are most important.
In the city, we have non-partisan races. The majority is elected directly by voters, but then, so are five other city council members. The city manager has to constantly be able to count to six (out of 11 city council members) and sometimes that’s not easy to do. It’s complicated by the fact that the administrator is almost always brought in from the outside to manage departments headed by people who also themselves have allies on the council. The result is unhappy voters who want someone to blame, and council members make scapegoats out of city managers who implement one lousy decision after another.
The City of Peoria is going to have the exact same problems with Urich as city manager as it did with Scott Moore. The bad budget will be there, as was as all that debt from three decades of TIF district addiction.
Ch-ch-changes at District 150?
With law firm Hodges, Loizzi, Eisenhammer, Rodick & Kohn opening an office in Peoria, it would not surprise me to see Peoria School District 150 dumping Kavanagh, Scully, Sudow, White in favor of the new guys. Heading up this new office will be Elizabeth Jensen, who used to be counsel with District 150 when she was with Kavanaugh, Scully, Sudow, and White.
I was disappointed in how local media covered the debate of the state legislature’s vote to end the death penalty in Illinois. The coverage read like press releases from local district attorney’s offices. This is a complex issue, with valid points to be made on both sides of the debate. But everything coming out of local television sounded like an exhortation to viewers to call their state legislators to complain about this assault to democracy. The coverage of the tax increase was not much better