“We need a qualified Mayor!” ”We need qualified Directors!”
These are terribly misleading statements. But we hear them all the time in the city. ”Qualified” is possibly the most overused and abused term in Trenton politics.
The only qualifications for being a Mayor are to be a citizen, a resident , be 18 or over and have a pulse.
You don’t vote for qualifications, it’s not that easy. Qualifications come from a job description, they are one person’s opinion. Rest assured that my “qualifications” are different than yours. My list of qualifications for Public Works or Recreation Director would be different than yours. We all have different notions of qualifications for our government leaders to the point where its meaningless to use the term.
We vote for ideas, creativity, hard work and values. What motivates a candidate? Are their interests aligned with ours? Have they laid out a plan that makes sense? Do they instill confidence?
Qualifications are easy and no one background is the right one for a job anyhow. For instance, I might prefer to have some bright, aggressive young kid, anxious to make a name for themselves, lead a Trenton department over a “qualified” guy who’s been marking time on the job. In Trenton, we need to stir things up.
Invention won’t come from inside, it’s likely going to come from outside (another reason to do away with residency restrictions as if the past 2 years haven’t been convincing enough). Creativity and new thinking can also come from identifying talent in the organization and letting it rise faster than normal. It can come from transferring leadership around. A great creative team that has been hand-selected will not just to know how to fill out the right forms, but rather to consider whether the forms are needed at all.
Let’s stop worrying about resumes and worry more about what’s behind a person’s eyes. Depending on “qualifications” is what scared, unthinking people do.
DCA’s vetting skills won’t save us. DCA isn’t building a leadership team. Teams are built by carefully selecting people who have different strengths and counter-balance each other. These kinds of teams allow out-of-the box thinking to mix with pragmatism. DCA isn’t doing that kind of team building. They’re just trying to keep the lights on.
Trenton needs a leader that can assemble a team to re-invent our city, not just keep the lights on. Harping on hiring “qualified” people is proof that a candidate doesn’t have the leadership juice to run our city.
What in Tony Mack’s qualifications told any of us that he could do that?
A good first step for a candidate in 2014 will be to explain that they understand these and other principles of leadership.