City needs to explain why leaders are leaving

City of Hardeeville has had five city managers since 2008. It's time for City County to address its leadership crisis.

newsroom@islandpacket.comMarch 28, 2014 

A revolving door of leadership is often a sign of a troubled institution. When leaders resign, institutional knowledge and experience walks out with them.

That's the case in Hardeeville where Bob Nanni, the city manager left in February, followed by Richard Nagy, chief of police, who resigned later that month. And now, Fire Chief Dan Morgan has either resigned or taken a leave of absence.

It's unclear whether internal problems are causing the town to hemorrhage leaders or whether this is a coincidental series of big exits.

At least in the case of the city manager post, it appears to be an endemic problem. Nanni is the fifth city manager to leave Hardeeville since 2008.

The exits take place while council member Sal Arzillo is the subject of an ongoing investigation by the S.C. Law Enforcement Division. The inquiry includes whether a police officer used unnecessary force in November and whether Arzillo interfered with a police operation and then retaliated against Nagy.

The public deserves assurances that this top-tier exodus is being taken seriously by its elected officials and work is underway to stop its continuation.

But Hardeeville residents have no such assurances from Mayor Bronco Bostick and City Council.

While we realize these public officials are legally limited in what they can say about outgoing employees, they can, in broad strokes, discuss city issues that are causing internal tension, steps being taken to resolve the issues and the city's action plan for moving the ball forward.

We'd also like to hear about any planned efforts to retain future high-ranking employees. It's worth the city's time to develop a new retention plan.

We urge the public and challengers for two City Council seats to push the issue.

Incumbent Arzillo and Sherry Carroll are both up for reelection. Their stump speeches should address the leadership void and what they personally plan to do to address it.

Otherwise, it's a fair assumption that internal problems exist within city government, and the revolving door will continue to spin.

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