Friday, January 18, 2008

Glens Falls mayor to run for re-election

The local weekly Chronicle newspaper had a brief blurb with some bad news: Glens Falls mayor Roy Akins intends to seek a second term.

If the next mayor created a ceremonial post, Akins would be the ideal person. He is always there for ribbon cuttings and ceremonial speeches and Christmas tree lightings and Harry Potter book launch parties and photo ops with visiting luminaries.

Akins would be a great ambassador for the city, but he is beyond question not up to the job of being the chief administrator for the city. His passive, hands off style is clearly not working.

His top staff members have resigned in droves.

He is completely unresponsive to citizen complaints about things like unplowed roads and noise of garbage trucks. I speak from personal experience. Of course, dealing with the nitty gritty of running a city is much less fun than fancy photo ops but it's much more about what the job of being mayor entails.

Rather than trying to court potential new businesses or keep current businesses from leaving, he expects them to come to him. His response is always "My door is open if they want to come talk to me." He is the least pro-active mayor in recent memory.

The same could be said about the city's quest for a new pro hockey team. You'd think he'd offer at least token public support to the search committee that hopes to bring a permanent tenant to the economic boondoggle that is the city owned Civic Center.

Or if he thought the building was no longer worth the trouble, he should take a position that it should be torn down or sold to a private group.

But it's not in his nature to take a position on anything. That's what he did during the election campaign. That's how he's been mayor.

His attitude is to just let things happen and if the best occurs without him, make sure he's available for the photo op.

Essentially, he lets everybody else argue about things, do the hard work while trying to stay above the fray. He lets other people take the heat but makes sure he's there to take the credit. That may be good politics but it denies needed leadership and direction.

Some criticized his predecessor, Bob Regan, for trying to run roughshod over everyone. Akins has gone too far the other way.

The mayor is a battling the effects of a brain tumor. He seems like a very nice person who's truly dedicated to the city. I wish him well.

But I think both he and the city would be better off if he resigned so that he could focus on his health and we could have a mayor who could focus on the job that needs to be done. If he's not going to do the most honorable thing and resign for the good of the city and himself, the least he could do is not run for re-election.

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