During the City Council meeting of August 2nd, City Manager Gordon Pedrow found it necessary to chastise Longmont’s current (and hopefully former) mayor Bryan Baum with the following words, “We take direction from a majority of the council in public meetings, not from individual members in a private office.”
The comment was prompted by the mayor’s insistence that he had given Pedrow instructions about city employee insurance. This incident demonstrates that Baum fails to understand that governments are organized as a collaborative effort.
Some cities (Los Angeles is an example.) are run by a mayor who functions as the city’s manager. Others, like Longmont, have a city manager who takes direction from a council majority.
Unfortunately Bryan Baum refuses to comprehend the limits of his role. In Longmont, the mayor is only one of seven votes. He does not get to “call the shots” as Baum seems to think so. And he sets the agenda only to the extent that he can garner four votes.
Bryan Baum sees his role as dictatorial in both style and content. Longmont will never have a civil government, in every sense of the word, until Baum is removed from office. He bullies city staff. He twists the arms of council members with similar ideologies when they stray from the fold. And he only stopped insulting other council members and the public when he was warned about being caught on camera in an unfavorable light. He’s delegated that role to those who are not up for re-election this year.
Longmont is a charming city. It needs a mayor that reflects the best of Longmont, not its worst. It needs a mayor who can give Longmont a fresh start towards progress, cohesiveness and congeniality.
Bryan Baum is not that person. He is not that mayor.