Therapy for the council is a waste of money, time

What follows is an initial reaction. There is far more tothis subject than meets the eye. At least we hope so, because the decision to have an exhaustive therapy session among city councilors is difficult to embrace.

Politicians aren't supposed to get along. If they do, all the better, but it isn't a job requirement. Nor do they need to agree. In fact, we would argue that in many circumstances the representative nature of government is best served if they didn't.

Politicians must be effective, a trait that appears to elude our council members.

This council remains so embroiled in relational, political and procedural division that they have ground to a halt in terms of effectiveness. The exhaustive effort to revise the city charter burned like kindling once the council got a hold of it. The council's effort to draft its own rules has twisted around for months, becoming so bogged down that one councilor attacked another, with the now infamous flowery request to please be quiet ... or something like that.

Therapy is not the answer. We just need more effective leaders.

First, the cost of the sessions is $37,000. If a licensed psychologist earns about $150 to $200 an hour for group therapy sessions, the council would apparently be paying for four years of sessions. Good gracious that's a lot of therapy.

We can assume the sessions are intended to build a base from which to make decisions and move ahead with a more cohesive council.

Forgive our skepticism, but the odds are better that Santa lives at the North Pole.

The city council does not need to spend more time together in more meetings. They sure don't need to sit around and talk. Lord only knows they do enough of that already.

The city council needs to decide what is important and get on with it. And they won't ever decide by consensus. Decide by voting.

If they need to use some therapeutic techniques to get it in gear, we'd suggest they bring a tennis ball to the next council meeting. When a topic is introduced, all councilors should be quiet and listen. Then they can each have the ball for three minutes. They may ask a question to clarify if need be, otherwise, state your opinion.

Give the ball to the next councilor. Have them do the same. When the ball gets to the mayor, have him ask for a motion. When he says, "any discussion?" have him just skip that part for a change. Take the roll call. If the four people vote in favor, a decision has been made. Move on.

If a councilor doesn't like the way the vote went, he or she can grab a television microphone after the meeting and fire away. Or he or she can work to win the next vote.

None of this requires good feelings, kindness or civility &

much less therapy.

The founders of this country didn't have time for therapy. They were too busy governing. Perhaps if our city councilors can't figure out how to do that, we can replace them, for far less than $37,000.

Share This Story