Parable of the Little Town… the reluctant Mayor and the Dawdling Council

Filed in MUNICIPALITY by on September 30, 2018

Long ago and far away, in a small province, there was a little town that had a reluctant Mayor.

It was a nice little town. It had good roads, neat parks, children playing and lots of programs. Town bills were always paid on time. People who lived there liked the little town and they liked each other. Everything seemed to be going along swimmingly.

In the little town, there was a dawdling Council that always replied with one voice.

One day at a council meeting, reluctantly, Mayor Putoff stood up and said: “I’m not at all sure, but ummm, I think we are going to need some new help running this town”. The Council replied with one voice: “Aw shucks, Mayor! Why do you say that?”

The answer took every ounce of gumption that the Mayor could muster. Finally, he stammered: “Next summer our Town Manager says he is going to retire and move away to Pleasantville where he is going to take up knitting, work in the garden …and put up his feet for the rest of his days.

“Noooooo…!” the council replied with one voice.

The Mayor continued to terrify the dawdling Council with his news. “Not only that, and I am not at all sure how to tell you this”, said the Mayor reluctantly, “but, I am pretty sure, that our Treasurer and our Recreation Director are also retiring to Pleasantville because they are ‘Boomers’ too! And, oh yes, our Public Works Manager and our Planner are leaving as well. They’ve all bought houses on the same street in Pleasantville”.

“I’m not sure I believe it yet. After all, they’ve been with us forever,” the Mayor sighed dejectedly.

All of the Council Members replied with one voice: “But, they can’t leave! Next year is an election year! And for heavens sakes, what will people say? Anyway, we need them, and we are afraid to hire new staff in these uncertain times.”

So, they did nothing!!!

Before leaving the meeting, the Mayor offered what he felt was one piece of good news.  “Mr. Notsofast, the Dog Catcher, will be staying”, he shared enthusiastically. Regrettably, nobody else thought Notsofast, was much use. He had come to the town by way of a job ad. He was the guy who had made his last town miserable.)

The reluctant Mayor and the timid Council continued to do nothing. After all, it is always easier to do nothing. And anyway, maybe staff would change their minds and stay, they hoped.

Stalled by inaction, days turned into weeks and weeks into months.

Then, one morning in the early spring, the reluctant Mayor got a phone call from Mrs. Knowseverybody, the town receptionist. “Mr. Mayor”, she said with great authority, “there are no cheques, main street is closed, the kids want the bats and there are dogs and cats running all over the place. What should we do?”

The Mayor reluctantly called an emergency Council Meeting. He waited as long as he could, then, rose to his feet and unenthusiastically told everyone that the town was falling apart: “Our whole management team retired and moved to Pleasantville, last weekend.”, he announced.

With a sudden burst of uncharacteristic energy, the dawdling Council replied with one voice: “So, let’s just throw an ad in the paper and get some help!” Evidently, there had been an acute outbreak of ‘sudden group memory loss’. It was advertising in the newspaper after all, that had found Mr. Notsofast, the Dog Catcher.

They had forgotten that top candidates need to be headhunted.

Even sadder, to make matters worse, although unknown to the little town, in that little province long ago and far away, was that all over the little Province, in fact all over the whole country, Managers, Treasurers, Recreation Directors, Public Works Managers, Planners and most senior executives were giving their towns notice. They too had already purchased property and were soon to retire in Pleasantville.

The moral of my story:

“Your boomer-aged staff will be leaving soon. If you are putting off the inevitable and afraid to hire because you think that just throwing an ad in the paper will do …just remember NOTSOFAST the Dog Catcher!”  Call us today 1-888447-5910 ext. 727

Bruce Malcolm

About the Author ()

Bruce's background includes 30+ years of human resource management experience covering all aspects of HR administration with a clear specialty in team building and recruiting. He created and developed the concept of “Ethical Head-Hunting™”. Bruce began his recruiting career in 1971 with Prudential Assurance.

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