Editorial: What was that all about

Sun, 09/01/2013 - 2:00pm

The question that seemed to linger in the air after the Town Council voted unanimously to renew “a contract” for Town Manager Nancy Dodge was: What was that all about?

We put “a contract” in quotes because that was the language used in the motion that passed this Wednesday night — meaning we don’t know when Dodge’s new contract will begin or how long it will last. We do know that Dodge is staying put, at least for now.

But why did this discussion take place, in this manner? After a couple months of public and closed session wrangling, five councilors gave Dodge a vote of confidence to continue in her job. Those five “yea” votes included one each by Sean McGarry and Chris Warfel. They ranked her job performance so poorly that removing her seemed warranted, from their perspective. But if all they were seeking was a way to transition from Dodge to a successor, they just should have said so.

McGarry and Warfel, after the meeting, told us they voted to extend the contract in order to move forward. Both said they did not want to immediately remove Dodge from her job. That we applaud.

Warfel also indicated, at Wednesday’s meeting, that he desired further discussions about Dodge’s contract, but in closed session. Dodge told The Times on Thursday she sees no justification for that approach. We have no issue with that. The more discussions held out in the open, the better.

However, as the talks continue, we recommend that the two parties come to an amicable agreement as to how long Dodge’s contract will last and to talk openly about how a transition can successfully be made when the time comes for Dodge to step down.

Block Island deserves clear, decisive political leadership. Things don’t always have to be unnecessarily hard on an island where life is already hard enough.