Former Syracuse city manager discusses departure

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 2:20 PM

Contributed, Robert Rice


I know there are many rumors going around as to why I resigned as the Syracuse city manager, so I thought I’d set the record straight. I did not leave due to Mayor Jamie Nagle. Other employees did not leave because of me or the mayor, they left because of the current and perhaps future Tea Party members of the governing body. I left the city for a better job with the Marine Corps; a job with more responsibility and better pay. I have never backed down from any challenge in my life, so don’t give them any credit for “driving” me out of Syracuse.

Some members of the council and their associates now running for office, made decisions that will cull them favor in the here and now. The strategic decisions they refuse to make will not haunt the city now, but certainly will in 10 or so years when no one will remember the names of the current legislative body.

When I was offered the job of city manager I was told the city had two large problems: the budget was a mess and the roads were crumbling with no significant money being committed to roads for years.

When I left, our general fund balance was more than 19 percent and we had budgeted almost $8 million in infrastructure upgrades over a two-year period. It was a difficult yet proud accomplishment, especially with the difficulty in dealing with some members of the council. But, we had a great team and accomplished much, I hope Syracuse continues to enjoy success but this election makes me fearful that all the good deeds could unravel quickly.

Some Council members built walls around themselves to ward-off any ideas that did not fit in their ideology. This is not good for the City. Narrow views and near-sightedness will only lead to real problems in the future. There are clear choices in this election: Visionary, strategic though not always popular: Peterson/Gailey, short-term, popular but problematic in the long run: Palmer/Duncan/Pratt.

The best choice for Syracuse is Peterson and Gailey.

Robert Rice

Stafford, Va.

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