The One Constant in Local Government
Change is a constant in local government. Periodic elections often result in turnover in the elected officials and it is not unusual for those serving as the Chief Administrative Officer or Chief Executive Officer of the municipality to be replaced. This replacement can be voluntary through retirement or resignation (wherein the incumbent obtains other employment or involuntary when the elected officials seek a change in the administration of the municipality). The challenge to elected officials is to obtain the most suitable replacement Administrator or Manager in a manner that candidly provides the candidate and the municipality with a clear understanding of each others assets and liabilities. In addition, it is best if this replacement process is done in a manner perceived as transparent, responsive to community and organizational needs and through consensus of the governing body.
Change tends to evoke apprehension in an organization, be it a planned change or a involuntary change. This apprehension cannot be ignored since it will only feed on itself. It is best addressed in a straightforward way by comments of the elected officials as to the reasons for the change and their goals for the replacement process. This should be accompanied by concise and decisive actions to provide for leadership during the transition period.