Tuesday, August 6, 2013

An Open Letter To All St. Petersburg City Employees

My name is Gene Webb, I have been writing in this Blog Post for the last couple of years since I retired.
For a total of 29 years I was a City employee, Assistant Director of the ICS Department for 24 years, and for the last five years Manager of the IT Division at the Police Department.
Many of you know or remember me, there are probably a lot who do not. You'll hear a lot of stories about me. Some funny, some sad, some serious and some not so serious, but the one thing I believe you will always hear is I was honest with those who worked with me and for me.
There are a lot of people trying to convince you that if Kathleen Ford becomes Mayor all hell will break loose. People will be fired right and left, departments will be eliminated, union agreements will be broken, negotiations with unions will be damaged the list goes on and on.
None of that could be further from the truth. And I want to tell you why.
First, I had a great career with the City. I was treated with respect and most of all with honesty. It does not matter if you are a field worker, team leader, union member, fire fighter, police officer, sergeant, lieutenant, major, captain, supervisor, manger, assistant director, director, or administrator; St. Petersburg is a good place to work and you have a great career.
No matter who gets elected there will be some changes. It has happened with every new Mayor since the strong Mayor came into being.
I have known Kathleen Ford for a long time. When she was on City Council I worked on a very serious and difficult series of problems and had a weekly two on one reporting meeting with her for months. Often I would appear at City Council meetings. I discovered the secret to working with Kathleen.
 It is just this simple. Tell her the truth. Good news or bad news tell her the truth. That's it.
Kathleen Ford is not going to show up at City Hall on the day after she is sworn in with a list of people to fire. How do I know? She told me so. And she goes by that tell the truth rule.
Here is what she said in paraphrase. I have a set of goals and objectives. We will put together a staff and a team that can support those goals and objectives over a reasonable period of time and then start working together to accomplish those goals and objectives for St. Petersburg.
My take is if,  like me, you enjoy public service, like working for the City and want to get back to serving the citizens of St. Petersburg for the first time in a long time, you are going to able to get back to it, know where you are going and how to get there.
You will have a Mayor and a leader focused totally on making St. Petersburg a better place that truly appreciates you and your contributions.
There will be no running through City Hall and MSC with a machete lopping of staff members, as some have suggested. There cannot be and there will not be. There is too much at stake, to many problems and way too many really good people to approach the problems that way.
Kathleen knows that.
I have been told by staff members if Ford is elected they will simply quit. That is certainly your choice, but I would suggest you think a bit before making that decision. Don't be influenced by the rumors. Don't throw way a good career based on political scare tactics and don't waste your vote.
The City needs a Mayor focused on St. Petersburg, not wrapped up and beholden to party politics; a Mayor that can provide a direction and leadership.
Kathleen Ford is right for right now.
When you mark your mail in Ballot, go to vote, don't vote against someone, vote for something. Don't vote  rumors or the self serving fears of others. Vote for what will work for St. Pete.
If you have a question call me at 727-510-4266. I'll be happy to answer your questions.
e-mail Doc at: dr.webb@verizon.net, or send me a Facebook Friend request.
Campaign Disclosures: Contributor to Kathleen Ford Campaign, Darden Rice Campaign, Concern Citizens of St. Petersburg

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