I have to admit that the first time that I met Bill Clingan (who is the somewhat embattled nominee for Madison's economic and community development unit director position) back in the early 1980s, we were essentially competitors. I was working at the Madison Urban League in the Clerical Skills Training Program and Bill was working for the Employment and Training Association. Both agencies depended upon the ever declining federal Job Training Partnership Act funding that trickled out of the Private Industry Council.
      Even though we were in a highly competitive, save-the-life-of-your-program situation, Bill still came across as a nice guy. I wanted to dislike him because EATA was getting the lion's share of the JTPA funding to the detriment of the Urban League. But Bill was a straight-up person who was always professional. Eventually EATA became invisible, swallowed whole in the Dane County Job Center and Bill went on to other administrative roles in the employment and training community.
      I crossed paths with Bill once more when he and I worked on the school board campaign of Juan Jose; Lopez. Bill was still that nice guy who helped propel Juan Jose to victory. Bill eventually went on to run for a school board seat himself and won. But when he was running for reelection, Bill got targeted with some rather ruthless campaign tactics  and lost the election. But in the midst of it, he stayed on the high road  and kept his dignity. I've also run into Bill up at the Wis. Department of Workforce Development, administering the Division of Workforce Solutions, which oversees the W-2, Welfare to Work Program. While one used to hear about all kinds of scandals and conflicts related to W-2, things have been rather quiet while Bill has been in charge of the shop.
      So when Bill was nominated for the economic and community development unit director position, I thought it was a good thing. Bill was experienced in working with businesses over the last 25 years or so as well as working with diverse populations. Bill is well experienced in managing complex operations like Workforce Solutions, which it appears he would be doing with providing leadership for offices as diverse as the Senior Center to the Office of Business Resources. It certainly seemed like a good fit for Bill's experience and what the job required.
      So I have to admit that I was quite surprised when Mark Bugher and Tom Still resigned from the city's economic development commission in protest over Bill's nomination. Bill was on the list of people given to the mayor, but he wasn't the top choice of the committee who wanted someone who lives in Racine.
      The next time I saw Bill, I had to take a hard look at him to see if he had changed. Had he become some arrogant, unresponsive bureaucrat who was anti-business? My examination found that he wasn't. Apparently, Bill's problem was that he wasn't the candidate that Bugher, Still and the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce wanted. The Chamber has put on a full-court press to defeat Bill's nomination.  Apparently they have called every alderperson to urge them to vote no on Bill.
      While it is important for everyone -- including the Chamber -- to have the right to speak their minds and to make their opinions known to the alders, I feel that the line of propriety has been crossed in this matter.
      Bill hasn't been accused of any crime or bad character. No one has said that Bill isn't qualified to handle the complex and demanding duties of the position that go far beyond relating solely with the business community. No one has even said that they have met with Bill      and found him to be uncooperative or hard to work with. The problem with Bill is that he isn't the Chamber's person.
      Every mayor has the right to put his or her management team together with the advice and consent of the common council. The mayor appoints someone whom he feels he can work with and should be competent to perform the duties of the position.
      When the Chamber goes to such an extent to defeat the nomination of an individual who is qualified for the job because that person wasn't their pick, we run the risk of creating a shadow government in city hall because the person appointed would be beholden to the Chamber and not the mayor. There would be two centers of power within the mayor's management team. And I think that would not bode well for the long term effectiveness of city government. Give Bill Clingan a chance to prove himself. The common council should approve Bill Clingan's nomination.
Reflections/Jonathan Gramling
                          
Give Bill a chance
VOL 2 No. 21                        Oct. 17, 2007

OCTOBER 17, 2007
COLUMNS & STORIES

* The Literary Divide/
Three peas in a sorry pod
,
by Dr. Paul Barrows

*
Second Harvest dedicates the Mike McKinney Distribution Center,
by Jonathan Gramling

*
JJ Madera: Two years and counting ...
by Jonathan Gramling

*
Elizabeth Eckford to speak at Edgewood College,
by Jonatha Gramling

*
WI Division of Energy Services: The right to be warm,
by Jonathan Gramling

*
Simple Things: Liberty and justice for some,
by Lang Kenneth Haynes

*
Asian Wisconzine: Advocating against domestic violence,
by Heidi M. Pascual

*
Politicas de hoy: Obama en Wisconsin,
por Alfonso Zepeda Capistran

*
Creative Syncopations: Malladi brothers in Madison,
by Ramya Kapadia

*
Norma Zaldivar: A passion for theater art,
by Laura Salinger

*
Voices: The hate that leads to hate crimes,
by Dr. Jean Daniels

*
Center spread: Marching for Freedom,
by Jonathan Gramling

*
Gladis Benavides: Race, Culture and competency (Part 2of 2),
by Jonathan Gramling

*
China Dispatch: Last days of summer,
by Andrew Gramling

*
WI Dance Council's Awards

*
Community Change makers


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Chief Noble Wray talks about crime in Madison