Bill Wayne's Political Pages - The Gadfly
Gadfly 231
Submitted to the Warrensburg Gazette for March 11, 2004

The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.

Main Street has a problem. Their Board doesn’t know what they want or need in a Director. Do they want a fundraiser? An idea person? Someone who is good at snow jobs? Whatever they want, they sure didn’t do a good job of communicating it when they last had a vacancy somewhat over a year ago. They brought in someone from out of town, sold her on how great the job would be, induced her to buy a house and try to become part of the community. It appears now that her impression of what she was hired to do was not what the board really wanted. Now they’re looking for a new Director.

The Main Street Board’s current problem is that they have no money to hire someone. I understand that, at the time of the Piccadilly Auction, they were two months behind in paying their director. Furthermore, they have no real source of funds or hope of getting more; state largesse in the form of grants has dried up and some of their larger donors have given up on them. Their proposal to tax downtown property owners $2 for each $100 assessed valuation is gone with the wind. If there was trust in Main Street before then, it was replaced by suspicion in many cases.

When a local board brings in an outside person to run an organization, it’s up to the board to provide both vision and guidance. I see no vision in Main Street beyond the streetscape project, with its controversial bumpouts. If anyone on Main Street’s board is or was visionary, the vision was never really “sold” to enough people to drive the organization. A self-selected board works only if everyone on it buys into the vision and works toward it.

If Main Street is to be a useful tool for downtown Warrensburg, it has some work to do. The board needs to have a vision and articulate it. They have to regenerate the trust lost in the $2 levy debacle and among the businesses hurt in Phase I of the streetscape project. If it degenerates to a fund-raising organization without purpose, Main Street may as well call it quits.

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