Friday, October 24, 2008

Guest Editorial - Angel vs. Abel

This is a "Guest Editorial" by my friend Rick Flaherty, who is the head honcho at Leader International Corp., which also happens to be Port Orchard's largest private sector employer.

“It’s NOT the economy, stupid”… it’s all about Leadership

By Rick Flaherty, President & CEO
Leader International Corporation

In just a short time we will go to the polls to elect some old blood and — possibly the most dramatic change in decades — with new blood; not only in Washington, DC but in Washington State as well.

I am compelled to write this article to help those who either don’t have the time to become educated about the candidates or who are wearing those rose colored glasses because one candidate or the other took the time to ring your door bell or shake your hand. BUNK!

Let’s get serious about electing individuals to represent us and insure we have vetted these candidates leadership capabilities; because when it’s all said and done and the final ballot is cast we are stuck with whomever we put in their new or continued seat of power.

We can no longer afford to be “indifferent” and just elect someone because we might “like them”… no, no, please not any more. We have to elect those who have proven leadership acumen and not because they are a “nice person”.

Forget the nice woman or man who took the time to ring your doorbell and tell you how they are one of you and that they understand your plight. Forget the niceties, the pat on yours or your spouse’s back and nice firm and warm handshake. And before you let go of that nice warm hand — and because you’re so enamored with the smile, don’t forget to ask this individual what makes them think they can lead and what leadership posts they have held. Most important, ask them what successes they have had in their stated leadership posts and what they accomplished.

And then let’s make sure to ask the other hard questions all too often overlooked until it’s too late.

• “Would your direct reports, administrators who were under you, your staff and other employees you dealt with give you a solid report card of at least an A or better?

• “Would the public you dealt with give you kudos for your leadership in office and indicate what a great public official you were?

• “Would you rate yourself as having good business acumen, an excellent understanding of government finance, the ability to listen well and understand the needs of the communities you represent — and, oh by the way, do you understand that you will be facing some of the toughest economic challenges since the Great Depression?”

Now it’s my turn to ask these same hard questions for the benefit of those who have been so enamored with at least two candidates running for our State House of Representatives. Fortunately, I have had the opportunity to work with both extensively… for the past four years with one individual (former Mayor of Port Orchard, Kim Abel) and for more than seven years with the other individual (current Kitsap Commissioner, Jan Angel).

I will give Kim Abel a D- on my leadership report card and Jan Angel deserves at a minimum a solid A. Why? Jan has the foresight to see what’s coming before it hits — she saw that the County would be in trouble financially by 2010 and tried in vane to bring a high-value economic engine in NASCAR to Kitsap County.

What did Kim Abel do? She showed up in Olympia at hearings to talk against this once-ever opportunity that would have lifted the entire State to a new level of recognition and added substantial tax revenues to the City of Port Orchard and other surrounding communities. And she did so without the authority of her City Council and yet indicated she represented and spoke for the City of Port Orchard (the fact is she testified for future personal gain).

Now, before I go any further, I personally like Kim Abel. She’s personable, polite and always smiling. But she definitely lacks leadership. She hired incompetent staff to lead one of the most important aspects of any city in its department of building, planning and public works. She allowed personal “fiefdoms” run by incredibly incompetent individuals to proliferate even when many of her constituents complained and even provided written proof of misdeeds and malfeasance — and in several cases outright illegal undertakings.

Jan Angel on the other hand worked tirelessly against a tyrannical and liberal north end commissioner to bring civility and leadership to Kitsap County. Contrary to what Kim Abel has claimed, Jan Angel worked with and not against the wishes of her constituency — the citizens she represented. Jan Angel worked diligently to help small business; I can tell you first-hand that she was almost singlehandedly responsible for our success in obtaining rezoning and site specific amendment approval to help us grow our business to Port Orchard’s largest private manufacturing employer.

And Jan Angel never “rubber-stamped” sprawl development. I know because she asked me to serve on the Citizens Advisory Group (CAG) to insure that the UGA boundaries were preserved for proper growth for Port Orchard’s future. She never once pressed anyone in our group to move lines or push the envelope to the advantage of uncontrolled sprawl that would benefit developers. She only wanted responsible and sensible urban boundaries that would meet with the guidelines outlined by Washington’s Growth Management Act.

So let’s be sure we make the right decision for our communities and put a responsible leader — one who truly has proven and documented leadership skills in the State House’s 26th District. There is only one choice and that is Jan Angel.

No comments:

Post a Comment