We replace a Commissioner; Napolean’s Mules redux?

The process consisted of interviewing 20 candidates who wanted us to appoint one of them to the city commission to fill a vacancy. Can you imagine hearing “building community” “ Vibrant” “Partnering” and “serving” every 10 minutes for four hours? In any case, we needed to whittle the field down to 3 or 4 who would receive more vetting. Criteria varied and mine were distinctly at odds with my fellow commissioners.

It seemed that a history of volunteering, of experience and knowledge of how things ran in Kentwood’s city hall was important to the other commissioners. One heard about how much one or another candidate had volunteered or was known to the participants. Many of the interviewees were on a first name basis with commissioners; I knew 3 or 4.  Only a few comments addressed the personal vigor or to the occasional criticism voiced by one or another of our 20 candidates.

I thought that a mistake; we need fresh faces, ones who can see and deal with the accumulated deadwood, but I will be outvoted.

It did however remind me of a probably apocryphal account of what Napolean wrought when he specified experience for what he wanted to replace a general who had fallen. It turns out that 2 mules had been with the emperor on every campaign for 15 years; Napolean had only to choose which he wanted to lead that division.

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