Michael Bennett: Sit down with Niles administrator productivePublished 4:55pm Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Niles city administrator Ric Huff and I sat down this week and had a great discussion about the relationship between the city and the local newspaper. It’s a conversation I already have had with the folks in Dowagiac and hope to have soon with government in Edwardsburg and Cassopolis.
As Ric rightly pointed out, the health of the city, its citizens and the local newspaper are all linked together. What’s good for one is good for all. The Dowagiac Daily News under the long time guidance of John Eby has probably done the best job in recent years of providing that healthy link.
Recently, after a false start, I believe we are well on our way to improving our relationship in Niles. Time hasn’t permitted me to invest the same kind of time in Cassopolis or Edwardsburg, although Mary Cooper in our advertising department and community editor Scott Novak are trying to fill that void. I have been able to spend a little time with both Chambers of Commerce. And I will always respond to a call or e-mail. My intentions are good.
It dawned on me after speaking with Ric that we share very similar challenges. We are both wearing multiple hats as we do our best to do the work of two or more people. It is the world of most businesses, schools and municipal governments today. We are survivors of some very difficult times. I know of no one that hasn’t been affected.
Ric also pointed out stories and online comments regarding the city and personnel that seemed to be out of place. Like I told him, I also ask you the reader to contact me if you ever feel that way. It is my position to agree and correct the wrong that was done or to disagree and explain why.
As I have pointed out in this column in the past, I am accessible. While time is tight, I need to know how we are doing. Like me, Ric is in the same boat. We both have jobs that put us in the position of owning the complaint desk. The newspaper, like the city, can sometimes upset its customers. For us, it may be printing the wrong crossword puzzle. For the city, it may be how they have to manage snow removal. No harm is intended, but people do get upset with us.
Finishing on a positive note, I want to express my thanks to all of you who offered me the use of the Flexible Flyer sleds after reading last week’s column. Thanks, but my body says no.
Tags: Michael Bennett