by A.C. Hall
A recent letter to the editor regarding the denial of an office for Mayor Ronald A. White at City Hall has sparked some heated conversation. The letter suggested that Mayor White was told he did not have an office at City Hall despite the fact that previous Mayor Jerry Burns had one in the building. Mayor White confirmed this, saying he allowed the issue to lay dormant, but now that it’s become public he would comment on it. He shared his interaction with City Manager Jim Ryan that led to the start of this issue.
“When I asked Jim Ryan for the key to the Mayor’s Office previously used by Jerry Burns, Mr. Ryan informed me that I, the Mayor, did not have an office at City Hall,” Mayor White said. “He suggested that I ask the City Council to discuss and consider this issue at the next Council meeting.”
In a conversation with The Grizzly Detail Newspaper earlier this week, Ryan gave further insight into this situation.
“I don’t have anything against Mayor White having an office here at City Hall,” Ryan said. “What it comes down to is space.”
Ryan said that Burns did technically have an office while serving as Mayor, but that many high level positions have been created since then. New positions such as Assistant City Manager and Assistant Finance Director have been created in recent months.
“I need places to put them,” Ryan said of these new employees.
The infrequent use of the Mayor’s office was also brought up by Ryan, who said he can’t recall Burns ever utilizing the office. He said the office was regularly moved around as space became tighter in City Hall, and that the office was so empty that at one point it acted as an exercise room for city employees.
Ryan stated that he’s offered the use of the Yellow Rose conference room as well as his own office to Mayor White if there’s ever a meeting or something White needs to handle up at City Hall.
Now that this issue is out in the open, Mayor White says he is going to move it to an official level.
“I intend to place the issue on the agenda for the next Council meeting,” Mayor White said.
If it does appear on the April council agenda, this will put the existence of a Mayor’s office in the council’s hands. City Manager Ryan said that his job is to take direction from the council and elected officials, but even if directed to do so he may still struggle to provide an office for the Mayor.
“If I don’t have an office to give, what can I do?” Ryan asked.