450th management is city management


400-G-GARDNER-HASJ450th management is city management

Guest Column: George Gardner
St Augustine Mayor (2002-2006)
St Augustine Commissioner (2006-2008)

The shift in city management’s focus on the 450th should not be surprising.

In the hands of a city manager, any community effort will ultimately go to his core function – infrastructure.

City Manager John Regan warned, even as he took the 450 planning reins from Mayor Joe Boles and an indifferent City Commission, that historic commemoration is not a core function of city management.

Regan made one ill-advised effort to shift the 450th to a community-based foundation, in desperation giving $275,000 in city money to a lawyer after Boles’ vision of top-down, funds first, then projects failed.

With the failure of that effort, Regan then hired a trio including a communications manager whose focus has been on the web and social media, a fund-raiser who hasn’t been able to raise funds, and a development director whose most visible achievement has been a First America series.

Perhaps the nearly $200,000 in those salaries and remainder of the $328,000 annual 450th budget could be put to better use dressing up the streets around St. George to expand commercial opportunities, and hiring economic development specialists.

George Gardner publishes a periodic newsletter, The St Augustine Report, previewing City Commission meetings and special reports of community interest. Before moving to St Augustine in 1991, Gardner was a former newspaper reporter and editor.

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