Post Register Editorial: True Leadership -- Not Deference

Each of the candidates for mayor was asked to respond to a question from the Post Register.  Rebecca's was about her ability to lead, not be led, by City Department heads.  

Here was her response:

I welcome this opportunity to speak directly to Idaho Falls voters about my leadership style.

Let me be perfectly clear: in a democratic republic, accountability to voters is critical. It is never appropriate for a mayor or council member to delegate or abdicate that responsibility. In the words of President Truman, the "buck" stops with the elected officials.

A mayor leads the city's executive branch and must implement city policy adopted by the city council. Idaho Falls operates under a "strong mayor model" which, in part, means that our mayor oversees professional directors in the implementation of city policy.

In this political race, voters have expressed their preference for a mayor who demonstrates decisive leadership and who has an action plan. This is why I am running with a detailed agenda for solving our existing problems, growing our economy, and enhancing our community. A Casper victory at the polls will also be a victory for that agenda and a mandate for its implementation.

I hasten to point out that city directors are not the enemy -- at least they are not supposed to be. Directors are paid well to bring professional skills, expertise and judgment to bear in public service. We reasonably expect their best. A collaborative leadership style like mine respects divergent views with the goal of creating policy that favors our entire city. No true leader wants to be surrounded by "yes men and women." And once a decision is made I will expect team-like support for it.

My plan for the transition process includes  implementation of top-to-bottom citizen scrutiny of city departments. I'll form citizen review committees comprising a wide variety of citizens -- critics, fans, experts, employees and those who are just concerned.

Each committee will review a separate department and answer the following questions: 1) What should be the top priorities for this department given my platform? 2) What does this department do well? 3) What can this department do differently? 4) How can the department save public money?

Each committee report will be shared with the City Council with the goal of improving effectiveness and efficiency. Because our city is not a private company, public scrutiny is not just useful; it is desirable and vital.

This process, combined with collaborative leadership, will help align each department with my commitments to voters. It will invite substantive citizen suggestions while still respecting the expertise of city staff and the role of the City Council.

Overall, my plan is simple: to promote efficiency by working in concert with dedicated, professional city employees, the City Council, and citizens. Together we can take Idaho Falls to a higher level.

I can provide the leadership to do so.

Casper is a mother of four, a Ph.D., an adjunct professor at BYU-Idaho and EITC, owner of Omnia Strategies, ad hoc member of the LINE Commission 2.0, a Chamber of Commerce member and a Rotarian. Her campaign website is casperformayor.com.