I read with dismay your Dec. 8 article about the uncertainty facing the Hilton Head Island town manager regarding his tenure. This is unprofessional as well as demeaning to Steve Riley, who has dedicated the past 22-plus years to improving our town fiscally, aesthetically and safely, and with so many wonderful amenities.
Frankly, I don’t care if Mayor David Bennett was in Orlando, Ohio or Outer Mongolia during Hurricane Matthew. (He was in Orlando.) Let’s see ... Bennett has no prior government experience dealing with hurricane preparedness. On the other hand, Riley has attended hurricane preparedness workshops in partnership with Beaufort County for 22 years as town manager. He was here during the evacuations for Hurricanes Andrew and Floyd. Who would you prefer to take leadership in managing our hurricane recovery efforts?
I worked for Riley for seven years and have known him for 13 years. I have seen firsthand how hard he works in the service of our residents and visitors. I have heard that the mayor thinks the town manager has too much power. What rubbish. The town manager has no unilateral power to make policy decisions; he implements Town Council’s policies and goals and manages town staff.
I don’t know Bennett’s motives for wanting to remove Riley, but I doubt if they are impartial or devoid of personality conflicts. And it certainly is not in the best interest of our town.
Tell Town Council and the mayor to keep Riley as town manager, especially during our hurricane recovery.
Hilton Head Island