Monday, January 31, 2011

When introverts hold office

I'm live-blogging from the Charlotte City Council's retreat. I'm also Tweeting, follow @marynewsom.

I caught some possibly significant discussion for a time this afternoon, post-lunch and before the current budget presentation. Facilitator Mike Whitehead pointed out that most of the council members are "sort of introverted," which means there's a tendency for less communication. "You flaming extroverts know who you are," he said, and laughter erupted from the table where Andy Dulin and James Mitchell are sitting. Those two are not what I'd peg as introverts.

Then Whitehead gave the formula he says is sometimes used in corporate America NC = MSU. That stands for "No communication? Then people make stuff up." The lesson, he said, is to communicate better with each other, so people know what's going on.

And, he said, you could communicate better with the media. (Colorful type font for emphasis is mine.) Answer questions and give data, he said, especially since a lot of the data is public record anyway.

But Mayor Anthony Foxx said he'd had experiences when C = MSU "and that's a problem" He has sometimes talked to council members ("and you know who you are") and then they tell reporters something else. Hmmm. So I think he just accused some council members of lying to the news media. If you're a journalist, let me note, the only thing surprising about all that is for the mayor to call it out publicly.


Roger said...

Mary, what I find interesting about communication from our elected officials is the very lack of it. I recently sent an email to our county commissioners, city council members, and the mayor asking for help promoting a local event. The only response that I received was from a member of the mayor's office. Not one single council member from the city or county bothered to respond or even have someone respond on their behalf other than the mayor. Lack of communication with the voters becomes lack of votes on election day.

The Freeholder said...

And you assume Mayor Foxx is telling the truth...why? As the character in The Hunt for Red October said, "I'm a politician. If I'm not kissing babies I'm stealing their lollipops."

Sounds like the best description of the species I've ever heard.

Anonymous said...

A consultant being paid for with public money to show politicians how to communicate. Priceless. The perfect elegy to our post-modern dream.

therestofthestory said...

Roger, I am not sure of what "service" you think they should provide for your event to be successful to you. I find when I communicate with them on government required services, like roads, I do get resppnses very relevant to my question. Even if they themselves can not answer my question, they will tel me who they passed my question to.

To The Freeloader, superb!