For city’s next mayor, the skill set is clear

1. Leadership is multi-layered and has some key components

What attributes does the next mayor in Gilroy need to have? A multi-faceted tool box of leadership skills.

It sounds so simple, but it’s anything but. Gilroy is at a pivotal point in its history. Our city has a stable tax base, but it depends on regional sales. Those regional sales, in turn, depend greatly on gasoline prices and disposable income.

Our police and fire departments are our own, but in order for those not to be regionalized reasonable salary and benefit contracts with the unions must be negotiated on a longer term basis. There has to be a new “normal” in public safety pay and benefits. And yes, that does have something to do with the mayor’s leadership.

2. The mayor has to be able to do more than talk about problems

So does bridging the great divide that exists on the Council now. Gilroy needs someone who doesn’t hold on to differences of opinion and allow those to become “poison pills” that halt progress across the board that would benefit the community.

Having the intelligence and creativity to help create a long-term vision for our city and being able to “move the rock” to support that vision is important. “Don’t just talk about it, get ’er done” would be a good motto for our next mayor. There’s true activity, then there’s the illusion of activity. True leadership makes the difference plainly apparent.

Bringing a community collaborative sense of mission back to Gilroy is part and parcel to the next mayor’s success. Allowing disagreements to create irreconcilable factions – both within the City Council and in the community – is a telling tale of failed leadership. Leadership extends beyond the walls at City Hall to include community groups from the Chamber to the Downtown Association to the Rotary Club. Those organizations must also have a clear sense of the vision – where Gilroy is going, why and how it’s going to get there.

3. Gilroy deserves to get past ‘The mayor is only one vote …’

It’s often proclaimed that “the mayor is only one vote” on the City Council. While that’s mathematically factual, it conveniently ignores the obvious: Gilroyans elect their mayor to lead, to build, to gather and coalesce the vision into tasks that move the city forward. “Only one vote” is really just the argument for weak and failed leadership.

There’s a reason why the mayor has an office in City Hall that’s near the city administrator’s office. The mayor is our representative – the person who should speak for the entire community and focus on what’s best for Gilroy.

November’s mayoral race is not far. Though the muddy political landscape for who’s in the race and who has decided not to run will likely change in the very near future, the attributes this city needs in its new leader have never been more clear.

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