We are likely living through one of the most world changing events of many of our lives and the city of Sheboygan’s officials are nowhere to be found. This is an unprecedented crisis and things have been changing rapidly. I have had to shutter my business and help my family re-imagine the operations of another business all with little notice. I am sure these types of experiences are not unique. We have all had to be on our toes, and everyone in any kind of leadership position has had to make quick decisions, and go above and beyond in communicating with whomever they lead. The complete lack of that kind of leadership from our city officials is absolutely unacceptable.
Since Sheboygan has added the role of City Administrator in support of the Mayor, roles and responsibilities have never been clearly defined. That may be part of the problem, but that alone does not excuse a lack of action, or communication during a global pandemic. Having two roles costs taxpayers substantially more money and has made the Mayor’s workload far lighter than it once was. If we are unable to rely on either of our two administrative positions to step up during a time of crisis, do we really feel both positions are necessary to do a job that one person was capable of doing for the majority of our city’s history?
I don’t think any rational person expects the city to provide financial relief or aid to people affected by the pandemic, or even do anything grand on the local level. Simply let us know that you’re with us. Let us know what has changed locally and what the city is doing to ensure we are fully prepared for whatever the coming weeks or months have in store. Remind us that it’s natural to be scared, or worried, but that there isn’t any need for panic. Use your platform to share information from state and federal response efforts, or to share health and safety information from the CDC, or WHO. Basically, do what we elected, or hired you to do, be a leader.
It won’t require substantial effort and it has the potential to make a massive impact. If our Mayor and Administrator continue to be absent during this crisis, I’m calling on any and all local elected officials to, please, take a few minutes once a week to update our community. Flip on a webcam, or cell phone (nobody reads anymore; thanks for making it this far!) and film yourself. You don’t have to be a world class speech writer, or cinematographer, or have perfect hair, or makeup. We get it, most of us are also stuck at home in a less than ideal situation. Just knowing that you are still with us, trying to lead the community is what really matters.