Monday, March 18, 2013

Plusquellic: A mayor doing things right

The recognition of Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic for the prestigious H. Peter Burg Award dashes the notion that familiarity breeds contempt.  He's been the city's chief executive for 27 years, the longest serving mayor in the city's history, having survived various attempts by his opponents to throttle his career at City Hall.  They've tried a recall, whispering campaigns,  junk psychology about his occasional temperamental outbursts, hostile (but ineffective) factions within his Democratic Party, and silly charges of political corruption.  None of it came close to kicking him out because all of it was politics as usual about a most unusual political leader.

Meanwhile, we learned from the 63-year-old Democratic mayor  that his only agenda is to manage a city in a way to advance it each day.

Chosen by the Greater Akron Chamber,  Plusquellic will be honored Tuesday night for his efforts in promoting economic development in the Akron area, a job that has not been the easiest through the darkest days of the recession  and the conversion of the city from an industrial town to white-collar enterprises.

Much of that story will be told again Tuesday night when he is honored at the John S.Knight Center with the award bearing the name of the former major domo of First-Energy.  Still, my best memory of his leadership is in somewthing that he didn't do.  After his determined bid to field a minor league baseball team in downtown Akron in a new stadium, he refused to show up on opening night in April 1997. The new owners owed the city a lot of money, he said.

Some political gurus and townspeople thought he was foolishly wasting an opportunity to shine, but the mayor figured that could await the receipt of the cash to the city's coffers. And it did.

As with a lot of other things in his role at City Hall, he must have done something right to dash around this long.  Congratulations,  Mr.Mayor!

1 comment:

Howard Tolley said...

Right on! Mayor Plusquellic is the key reason Sue and I elected to remain in Akron the
past 45-plus-years. He has done an outstanding job of leading the city. His deft
handling of the many challenges, problems and opportunitieds presented him has been
remarkable to behold. He well could have presided over the city's death, instead, it has been
its rebirth! He always gets my vote at the ballot box and as a class act that will be so hard
to follow!