LETTER- Give O'Connell credit
So former Councilor Rob Schilling is blasting City Manager Gary O'Connell? [June 5 online story: "Schilling blasts water project, O'Connell's ‘fiefdom.'"]
No surprise there– Rob's contempt for government (and his dislike of O'Connell) was clear at the time he was on Council and is even more apparent now to anyone who listens to his radio show. It appears to me that Rob is trying to boost ratings.
On Council, Rob always asked, at the last minute, for ridiculous amounts of information from City staff, and never getting enough information was his justification for abstaining from voting. In the two years I served with Rob, he abstained over 30 times on policy votes.
But it saddens me to see efforts to promote the water alternative become personal criticism of Gary O'Connell. Gary withheld no information and pushed no agenda; rather he worked to make the planning process a remarkably open one and to help Council understand a very complicated plan. City staff works hard to ensure councilors get comprehensive information; differing conclusions can be and frequently are drawn from the same information.
The most that can be said in this case is that he conveyed high dredging estimates from consultants– and as we take a look at maintenance dredging we will see how high.
Council, the press, and residents may not always agree with Gary O'Connell, but make no mistake– he is a dedicated professional with an obvious love for the City. Gary has been City Manager since 1995. And while, like all communities, we have our share of challenges, Charlottesville is indeed a great place to live– and Gary deserves no small share of the credit for that.