Saturday, January 30, 2010

Standard-Examiner: Ogden's Community & Economic Development Department Gets a Makeoever

Mayor Godfrey breaks recent precedent; appoints a dedicated and experienced Department Director from within C&ED Department ranks

Just to kick off the morning's discussion, we'll highlight an important story from yesterday's Standard-Examiner which wound up on the WCF back burner, due to yesterday's Std-Ex server outtage:
Ogden's economic development department is reorganizing
Amidst ongoing speculation that Boss Godfrey would possibly make the wrong choice for a successor to Scott Waterfall in the top Community & Economic Development Department post, our mayor has selected current Deputy Director of Community and Economic Development Richard McConkie to serve as Ogden City's new C&ED Department Director.

We couldn't be more delighted with the mayor's choice of Richard McConkie, a veteran Ogden City public servant, who's reportedly been a dedicated Ogden City employee since 1983. Over the course of the past few years, Godfrey has followed a pattern of bringing in "hired guns" to fill the important C&ED Director slot; and our opinion this practice this hasn't worked out very well at all. Thus, we congratulate Mayor Godfrey for breaking recent precedent, and for appointing a dedicated city employee from within the C&ED Department ranks. Mr. McConkie brings to the job a vast body of knowledge and experience accumulated over the years. He's obviously been doing much of the C&ED heavy lifting over the years, too.

We're similarly pleased with Mr. Godfrey's selection of Tom Christopulos and Steve Fishburn, to fill the respective C&ED deputy director and business development manager positions.

These appointments still require council approval of course; but we predict this process will be a mere formality.

It isn't often that we have an opportunity to pat Boss Godfrey on the back.

Let's relish the opportunity and hope it sets new precedent, too.

So what say our gentle readers about all this?


Danny said...

Rudi says:

"It isn't often that we have an opportunity to pat Boss Godfrey on the back."

Another thing that doesn't happen often is for me to disagree with Rudi, which I am doing now.

Richard McConkie is fully incompetent. He was econ dev director under Ogden Mayor Glenn Mecham. He "resigned" from the position, since he was unable to do anything in the job. Mecham appointed Larry Catten, leaving McConkie as "deputy."

So when McConkie "resigned", he kept his job, and his pay, but just didn't have to actually do anything.

Now, after a decade, he gets his old job back - the one he lost because he "resigned".

McConkie's appointment only shows Godfrey's circle continues to grow smaller.

One good thing is that with McConkie at the helm, our benches will more likely be safe, since econ dev will entirely stagnate now. McConkie is also somewhat nicer that the typical Ogden bureaucrat, for which we can also be thankful.

A better idea: Get rid of the whole department. Other communities the size of Ogden don't have them, and they do just fine.

althepal said...

I'll register my disappointment that Curt Geiger wasn't selected for the CED Director job. We could have had a lot of fun with that appointment for the next 2 years here at WCF, I think.

Curmudgeon said...

Couple of things:

1. All that heart burning over wholly unsubstantiated gossip [that some here seemed to take as gospel] about the appointment turned out be a lot of hot air about nothing.

2. I don't know the new appointee, and haven't a clue whether Rudi's assessment of him or Danny's is the more accurate. Seems to me at this point it doesn't much matter. Mr. McConkie now should be given, as every new appointee to a city job should, the opportunity to establish by his performance in the job, whether his was a wise appointment or not. In time, we'll know.

Keisha said...

LOL, Curm. I doubt that any rational poster on WCF believed that Gondolist Curt's appointment to the CED post was imminent.

Let your hair down, Curm.

The "predictions" were obviously all in fun.


Curmudgeon said...


Some of it was tongue in cheek, K. But reading back over the comments, some seemed to take it as more or less given that the gossip was so and all but inevitable. Just seemed to me then/now/always that there's enough going on in Hizzonah's The Peoples Republic of The Friends of Matt to talk about, criticize, examine etc. that there's no need to make stuff up. That's all.

watchful Citizen said...

ANY incompetence, regarding the appointment of Richard McConkie as CED Director, belongs to this pretender, "Danny," who obviously knows little to nothing about which he writes. Anyone who knows McConkie, and the value his service to and with the City has been, knows that Richard will make a fine CED Director and perform admirably. It's a shame that he didn't take Harmer's place when that opportunity arose. Waterfall seemed to never be quite in the game, as the game was meant to be played. He was competent, but didn't quite have the "drive" needed for this position.

It always amuses me that some clown, like this Danny guy, has to come out of the wood work to complain about and personally slander a person over things he OBVIOUSLY knows nothing about. This ya-hoo is just showing his ignorance and a complete lack of character with his foolish remarks that I'm sure are based on frivolity rather than substance.

Rudi got this one right, folks, much to my delight.

Although Althepal's comments were most likely "tongue in cheek," he should understand the difference between having fun on the blog and the realities of appointing Geiger to the position of CED Director and what THAT appointment would have really meant to Ogden City. Geiger's a hell of a ski guy, but as I mentioned during the time of speculation over who would fill what positions after the big 3 resigned, Godfrey certainly would not put what the CED Directorship really entails into Geiger's hands. The position is too important to Ogden, and the direction Godfrey is trying to take the city, for cronyism. Geiger simply does not have the background for running the CED and Godfrey ain't about to let the train jump the tracks at this point in time.

Also, the appointment of Jay Lowder to replace George Benford, was well done. Those who disparaged Jay, by claiming he was not up to the task because of a supposed inferior intellect, get to sit next to this Danny character as they all occupy a place on the row in the cheap seats section. Remarks such as these are not only insulting, showing a total lack of knowledge and decorum, but they have no place in a serious discussion about serious stuff.

All in all, these most recent appointments are good for Ogden and are just what the doctor ordered. Even though some of Godfrey's methods are questionable and worthy of criticism, he does deserve a pat on the back for all this, including the elevation of Tom Christopulos and the bringing aboard of Steve Fishburn.

viktor said...

Now I don't mind some one patting the little peckerwood on the back as long as they got a switch blade knife in their hand.

noah W. said...

peckerwood |ˈpekərˌwoŏd|
noun informal often derogatory
a white person, esp. a poor one.

Curmudgeon said...


You may well be right, but I'd just note, again, that we won't know if the appointments were good ones until the appointees have had a chance to prove themselves on the job. Seems to me, then, praise [and a prediction of good work] is, at this point, no more valid than criticism [and a predictor of poor work]. They've got the jobs. We're just going to have to wait and see, now, how well they perform in them. And they're starting their jobs with a clean slate and deserve, I think, a general suspension of judgment by the public until they prove, by their work, to have been good appointees or not.

My hope is they'll turn out to have been excellent appointments. But we don't know that yet, and and won't for a while.

boon said...

There is still is hope for a Geiger (it's not over yet)- the position of Community Development Manager is still open - Keith Morey's old position.

Watchful Citizen said...

Curmudgeon, I think that McKonkie's former position of Deputy Director/CED, and performance therein, speaks for itself. McKonkie has some 25 years or more of serving the City, working firsthand with all or most of the CED Directors, Administrations AND, most importantly (in my opinion), the City Council as per the CED's dictates. Here, one should consider the history and experience of McKonkie's performance. That alone would tell me that McKonkie's selection is praiseworthy and Godfrey has put a damn good man in a very demanding position and therefore such positive predictions are justified. Certainly moreso than you're balancing act of "a prediction of good work] is, at this point, no more valid than criticism [and a predictor of poor work]." Sorry Curmudgeon, but the predictions are much more valid than you seem to realize.

Now, if McKonkie had been an unknown selected from out of the blue, or some political appointee or a FOM (like Geiger), then I would have had to agree with you that we most likely would have been faced with your coin flip at best. But in this case, not so. As it is, McKonkie, through his duties as Deputy, his past performance therein, his knowledge about the position and what it entails and his time in grade in the CED are all reason for optimistic and positive expectations. This, I believe, is akin to the justifiable expectations we U of U fans had when Kyle Whittingham was chosen to replace Urban Meyer as head football coach. The guy will do well, just as Whittingham did.

Knowing a little something of how things work in the City, the selection of Richard McKonkie is one of the best decisions the Administration has made and Ogden, both the City and the city, will benefit tremendously from McKonie's leadership of the CED. Not only does he have a well groomed team in place but his experience and knowledge speaks volumes.

In the Grand Scheme of things, this may not be the "second coming," but as Rudi says, Godfrey deserves a pat on the back for this selection and Richard McKonkie is the right man at the right time for this position.

And please recall that my comments regarding this were mostly a criticism of this Danny clown's post, some guy who obviously has no frame of reference about the job or the CED, and how it all ties in to benefit the city. In my humble opinion, Danny merely used the blog as a means to insult and demean a pretty good and well qualified gentleman by grasping at straws and portraying his ignorance in his meaningless diatribe.

But hooray, this is a blog and there is a place for everything. Danny's foolishness did evoke some rational discussion and that, I suppose, is what these spaces are all about.

Curmudgeon said...


The fly in the ointment in your argument, Watchful, is this: Mr. McConkie has been appointed to a new position, and a higher one with more responsibilities. Whether he can/will succeed in it remains to be seen. Past performance certainly matters when applying for a new job, something clearly to be considered by whoever will decide who to appoint. But past performance is not a guarantee of future performance at a more demanding job.

Consider the infamous "Peter Principle." Does it apply to Mr. McConkie's promotion? Probably not. Hope not. Be we'll have to wait and see to be sure.

Not really trying to "balance" comments, etc. Watchful. I just think anyone starting a new government job [any level] deserves time to build a record in the new job, before people start drawing conclusions [either way] about his or her ability to perform it well. That's all.

disgusted said...

I frankly feel that the city needs to pare back its business development activities and focus on providing services to the residents. I would much rather have seen these positions not filled or at least not back filled when people were advanced.

The city's infrastructure is falling apart, the service providers within the city (such as the fire and polce department are in need of additional equipment and man power), and the street and utility department seems to be lacking as well.

It's about time the city focus on the quality of life of the resident. Let's stop chasing the dreams of a few and get back to what a city administration should be doing. Providing services to the residents.

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