Minot’s a small town in a slow economic time, and the City’s contracts for roads and sewers and flood protection are the fattest ones around. And the two most powerful people in town when comes to delivering those professional services contracts to engineering firms and paving the way for contractors and developers? It’s our Public Works Director and our City Engineer.
No positions, no two people hold greater influence over what Minot is going to look like in the future and who is going to be responsible for building (and get paid for) that vision than these two individuals.
And if you were an engineer, or a contractor, or a developer, and you knew either Mr. Jonasson or Mr. Meyer to be misguided on an issue or just plain wrong in a method they use or a statement they make — are you going to call them on it?
Put yourself in the shoes of that engineer or that contractor, or that developer trying to earn the City’s work. What could you gain by calling out either of these individuals that would outweigh the risk of pointing out a professional shortcoming?
And if you’re layperson elected official such as our Alderman, how do you challenge what you’re told by City staff if you don’t have the professional or operational expertise to know what questions you should be asking?
These are hard questions to ask because they aren’t nice. And in North Dakota, we tend to avoid things that aren’t nice.
But we have to ask the question because the City’s track record on infrastructure projects and lawsuits over the past 5-years suggests something is broken. And the extraordinary decisions that will shape this community long into the future deserve to be made with the best information and processes that deliver the best results.
So, though I don’t wake up every day hoping to prove someone wrong, I guess I’ll be the jerk who double checks what we’re told not only by Mr. Jonasson and Mr. Meyer, but by every other individual and organization tasked with making the big decisions for Minot’s future.
And if I happen onto an idea that insulates our processes or improves the manner by which we arrive at those decisions, I’ll share those along the way too.
I have to admit, I’m not terribly excited about the job, and please understand that I don’t have anything personal against Mr. Jonasson or Mr. Meyer in spite of the fact that I’ve butted heads with both on recent issues. But the future of Minot is deeply personal to me, and as we plot our course into it, I want to be sure that we’re choosing our path based on the best information.
So here’s my pledge — if the emperor is naked, you’ll hear about it here on The Minot Voice.