By guest blogger Sadako Red [see disclaimer]
[July 11, 2015] Sitting at my desk here in Washington D.C., I get to see a lot. Politicians are the big game in town and what they do makes the headlines but it’s what’s behind the scenes that’s the real story. With the U.S. presidential campaign beginning and Donald Trump making headlines, many in the City of Baltimore are happy it’s pushed them out of the limelight. Perhaps that’s why most didn’t notice the firing of the city’s Police Chief Anthony Batts by the city mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake earlier this week.1 What it does show, however, is what happens when a weak senior leader hires and oversees another weak senior leader.
Chief Batts was a rotten police chief. Everyone knew it and also knew he was hand-picked by the mayor for political reasons but nobody said anything because “that’s the way things are done around here.” You see, the city’s mayor is black and a Democrat, the city’s state attorney is black and a Democrat, and most of the high public officials are black and Democrats. So the argument goes that the police chief needs to be black and a Democrat too. Being a good friend of the mayor certainly didn’t hurt Chief Batts but his efforts to combat crime and reform law enforcement in one of America’s most violent cities, didn’t go well.
Since April after the death of a black man at the hands of the police, there has been an alarming increase in crime, rioting, and a plummeting of police morale. The city’s police union just released their report on the riots and concluded that the police “lacked basic riot equipment, training and, as events unfolded, direction from leadership.” What is most damning in the report was that officers followed explicit orders from their commanders “not to intervene or engage the rioters.” This is a very condemning of the entire senior leadership of the police up to and including the mayor.
The City of Baltimore needs strong, experienced leadership in key positions during troubled times. They neither have such leadership, nor do its citizens demand it. Such is a recipe for future failure as the city slips into even worst of times. Many predict that the city will continue to self-destruct as long as the current leadership is in place. Weak leadership can get by in good times but when things are bad, such as we see today, weak leadership cannot extract them from the increase in crime, violence, and costs associated with it.
We need to remember that it was the mayor who said “we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well.” It was the mayor who gave permission for the criminal element in the city to commit mayhem. It was the police chief who was fired. Chief Batts needed to go but it’s the City of Baltimore mayor that needs to either become a good leader – which can’t happen just because they wish it – or she needs to go.
What will the city do to fix the problems they have? I think its leadership will do nothing to change and so I’ll sit back at my desk and watch the good City of Baltimore struggle and sadly see many lives destroyed by weak leadership. The city is still Stuck on Stupid!2
You can find me on the web. Just look and find my writings on “leadership”.
Sadako Red’s Previous Posts:
- City of Baltimore and Race: Stuck on Stupid
- Lead by Example and Show Some Dignity!
- Fear: Racist, Sexist, Homophobe Accusations
- The U.S. Army, Race Relations, and Manhood
- Race: Leadership and the Lack of Leadership
- A Failed Management Culture in the VA
- Race Trumps and Leadership Fails
- Race, Character, and the Government
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- U.S. Army Lieutenant General Russel L. Honore made headlines when he made the comment “don’t get stuck on stupid.” In the aftermath of Hurricane Rita in New Orleans, Louisiana he told a reporter not to get stuck on stupid in reference to a dumb question about the government response to the hurricane. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russel_L._Honor%C3%A9