McKinney Underground Government Suffers a Setback, and a New Future Opens

The voters have slammed the business-as-usual, McKinney Underground Government in a big way by making sure the Mayor Pro-Tem doesn’t get to stay at the table. He’s out. I should say he has been outed. Also, three “winkers” and “I can’t vote against my friends” Council members are termed out even though old developer friends rushed to get some things approved just before the election. Good riddance!

Even though there are three runoffs, those with the most votes should be successful. The remaining three Pogue-worshippers will be in a minority. Oopsy!

McKinney made a turn yesterday – a major shift that will bring needed change to the way business is conducted in local government here.

It is clear, crystal clear, that having the McKinney Fire and Police Unions support does not bring assurances you will win office. In fact, I sense that it backfired and will continue to be a negative instead of a positive. A smart candidate in the future will flee from that kind of support, which will make the elections two years from now for the three incumbents that much more interesting. If I were a member of the Fire & Police Unions, I’d seek new leadership and new rules about political pandering.

But there is hope. They have two years of experience under their belt and could make a difference if political intrigue can be replaced with sound decision making. One of the three was overheard telling the other two that I was going to be “taken down” after one of my blogs. Let me say this: I stand ready to heap genuine praise for any and all of the seven doing their job and only their job without favoritism or malice. Try me.

As a companion statement, I will not hesitate to blast any of the new four if they become part of the McKinney Underground. My support of them ends the moment they abandon their independence for their friends. My loyalty is cemented by what they do and only by that yardstick. My training and my orientation are to match words with action.

But this is just the beginning. McKinney voters need to keep up the momentum. After the three runoff leaders get seated, it will be time to push for major changes in the City Charter – the People’s Word. We the citizens need to make sure it becomes a violation of our Charter for political candidates to use the City’s logo for political purposes as is already prohibited in some cities.

If possible, we need to make it illegal to use any city employee group for political influence. As I said recently, it is flat wrong to have city employees pushing to pick their boss three levels up. It stinks, and the voters apparently found the pungent smell too much to reward and unworthy of their vote. Please, people, think deeply about how that has been allowed to happen in McKinney. The only people who have told me there is no Underground are members of the dang Underground!

The future City Council needs to move immediately to get rid of the City Attorney. He is part of the Underground, controlling way too much and being much more involved in City business than just offering legal advice. What are the sound reasons for rotating the City’s independent auditor after several years? It applies to the City Attorney, too. The “he has so much historical knowledge” argument is bogus. If that is so, then we have allowed McKinney to get shackled to a job protection scheme that is simply not a good business practice.

The City Council needs to confront and take action on any aspect of the way McKinney violates the Council-Manager form of government. If it’s one of them (and there have been many), call out the infraction. If it is a staff member undermining the City Manager (and there have been many), then resist the practices of the past. If it is the old establishment of developers and realtors or anybody new on the scene, call out the foul.

McKinney is so desensitized to bad practices that many good people have no clue they are in violation of sound governance because they are just doing what they have seen everybody else do. I think that ended yesterday.

In fact, make it known inside and outside the walls of McKinney that this city assures a level playing field to everyone in both tangible and intangible ways. Ask people outside of McKinney what our political reputation is. Imagine what that answer could be with fair dealings.

I think we are in for two years of new professionalism that will change McKinney forever, with an acceleration two years from now. Professionalism breeds more professionalism. That’s the missing message to bring the quintessence of said professionalism to McKinney in the way of the best businesses. McKinney must get out of the desperation mode. If we could reach build-out in, say ten years, just exactly why would we want to be in that kind of rush?

Then, citizens, we must work on the McKinney ISD, where the sheep-board is anesthetized to the point of servitude to the Superintendent: the opposite end of the governance spectrum. The McKinney City Council can set the example. LFM

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