I’ve been disappointed in recent weeks to see Portland’s city manager, Jon Jennings, lash out at our elected mayor with a series of ugly personal attacks.

Mr. Jennings has said that Mayor Ethan Strimling is a liar and then openly admitted that he has refused for months to meet with the mayor to discuss city business. It also recently came to light that Mr. Jennings has instituted a policy of banning city staff from speaking to the mayor without prior permission from the city manager. But the city manager’s job is to work with the elected mayor, whether they agree on issues or not.

It’s been clear for some time that City Manager Jennings and Mayor Strimling differ on policy. The mayor supports bonding to repair our four crumbling elementary schools. The city manager opposes it. The city manager proposed shutting down the India Street health clinic. The mayor led the effort to keep most services there funded.

Some people seem to think that the conflict in City Hall is entirely the mayor’s fault, but given the city manager’s reluctance to meet with him, what’s the mayor supposed to do?

I think it’s time for the city manager to stop attacking and start collaborating. And if he won’t, it’s the City Council’s job to insist that he does.

Christine S. Albert


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