How would you solve the dilemma described in this case?

Even her critics admitted that Fran Loughlin was an innovator. In the three years that she served as City Manager of the City of the city of Barnbridge, Ohio, Fran orchestrated a stunning shift in the way the city did business. Under Fran’s direction, the city put indebtedness and regulatory problems behind it and was well on its way toward operating like a coolly efficient organization. She concentrated decision making with her department heads and streamlined the channels through which the various departments worked. To her friends and admirers, Fran’s tenure as City Manager wasn’t merely successful. It was historic.

Then why was the City Council preparing to vote on whether Fran should be asked to resign as City Manager? As the members looked around the conference table, they realized that few of Fran’s friends were in attendance. Indeed, no council members could say they really knew their city manager. And, in truth, none admitted to liking her. Maybe it was her commandeering style, her “I’m-in-charge” mentality that left little room for compromise or debate. Maybe it was the fact that, even after three years at the helm, Fran still seemed like an outsider. She had embraced the city’s mission, but not its ethos. True, Fran helped transform the city into a well-oiled machine. But in the process, did she rid the city of its identity?

Too often, her critics claimed, she projected a heartless face to the public. The council knew they were being tough on her. Certainly, they would never have hired her if they felt she was compassionless. But the same blunt style that once seemed an endearing quality now grated on them — and the department managers as well.

Some council members defended Fran and her accomplishments. They recalled Fran’s interview three years ago. At the time, the city was in poor financial straits. Revenues were down. Debts were threatening to engulf them. Veteran department heads often seemed to put good deeds ahead of good business practices. Three years ago, the council was looking for someone to clean house. And isn’t that exactly what Fran did?

Some council members defended Fran and her accomplishments. They recalled Fran’s interview three years ago. At the time, the city was in poor financial straits. Revenues were down. Debts were threatening to engulf them. Veteran department heads often seemed to put good deeds ahead of good business practices. Three years ago, the council was looking for someone to clean house. And isn’t that exactly what Fran did?

“Our bottom line isn’t money,” one council member said. “It’s service, protection, and compassion.”

The members mulled their decision before the vote. Had they given too much power to Fran, power that belonged in the council’s hands or with department heads? Or, by firing her, were they sending the message that the City Manager was little more than a figurehead? Were they using Fran’s style as an excuse to scapegoat her, to pin the organization’s shortcomings on her?

Or was this really a battle for the city’s soul?

How would you solve the dilemma described in this case?

Now that you’ve read the case, answer the 6 questions below to see how you would react. Answers for each question should be 1-3 paragraphs in length. Be sure to cite references from course textbooks properly and include a references list at the end of your response (APA style is preferred, but just be consistent with your references if you choose another style).

1. What is the most important issue in this case? Explain why.
2. What do you think should be done first to address this issue?
3. Any other steps you’d take on that issue?
4. In addition to the primary issue you listed above, are there others that need attention? 5. What steps do you recommend for addressing those issues?

6. What could have been done differently by the people in the case to avoid the situation entirely?

 

"Is this question part of your assignment? We Can Help!"