Questions in Quincy

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By Robert Allen

An apparent rift in communications between the city of Quincy’s direction and Commissioner Keith Dowdell evolved into a topic of conversation at the regular July 17 meeting.

Dowdell motioned to begin the search for a new full-time city manager. Commissioner Micah Brown seconded this motion, but it failed. Commissioners Andy Gay, Derrick Elias and Daniel McMillan voted against beginning any searching for a new city manager, effectively extending Mike Wade’s interim status as city manager. 

Dowdell also inquired about a still-standing request he had issued to Wade for a number of public records. The commissioner said he had been waiting for longer than the designated 30 days.

In keeping with his explanation during previous meetings, Wade cited the number of documents Dowdell requested, saying so many records would take longer than the 30 days to provide.

Later in the meeting, the topic was revisited when McMillan asked Wade if he could provide Dowdell with some of the documents before they are all available.

Wade said he could.

Dowdell also inquired about the “change of direction” cited in the dismissal of Wade’s former executive assistant, Cynthia Shingles. He asked Wade who had ordered this change of direction.

Several seconds of silence followed. Wade did not answer.

Commissioner Derek Elias then interjected, answering for Wade. He told Dowdell his question was not appropriate for the current public forum.

Dowdell voiced disagreement regarding the impropriety of his question, but didn’t pursue the issue further.
Elias said it would be acceptable for Dowdell to state an opinion on the matter.

Dowdell said it was his opinion that he didn’t understand what new direction the city was taking. He said he would like to know, still directing his question-turned-opinion toward Wade.

Wade did not respond.

McMillan said any time a government undergoes a change in leadership — such as the removal of Jack McLean, former city manager — the administration undergoes a default change of direction by virtue of that dismissal.    

Dowdell asked McMillan what direction the commission would now be headed.

McMillan said, “We don’t know yet.”