TAPintoWestfield: My Conversation with Shelley Brindle
This article originally appeared in TAPintoWestfield on Oct. 13, 2017
When I first met Shelley Brindle, I was impressed. I was impressed with her intelligence, her experience and her passion. But I was also uneasy. I’d seen her announcement video and heard the message about open communication, collaboration and changing the culture. But I wanted to hear the specific action plans and I thought other Westfielders would want the same. I expressed this to Shelley and she responded in two ways.
First, she told me that she would not make promises that she did not know she could keep. She would not promise to fix the sidewalk in front of my shop until she knew where the money was coming from. She would not promise to “revitalize downtown” until the 15-year-old master plan could be replaced with a relevant and visionary roadmap for both short-term and long-term development.
The second part of Shelley’s response focused on changing the culture of our municipal government. She related her experience with a large and successful organization that if you had to choose between vision and tactics, vision wins every time. Change the culture of our town government to be inclusive, creative and collaborative and the strategy and tactics will follow and will be actionable and impactful. Shelley’s experience at a large and successful organization tells me that she’s right; that it worked at HBO and it will work for Westfield. After 35 years as a mid-level functionary, I still wanted to see “the plan” and I encourage all to read it at http://www.brindleforwestfield.com/shelley_brindle_for_westfield_mayor_platform.
Our mayor of 12 years is a good guy and does not bear the “blame” for all challenges facing Westfield. He’s been a competent manager. What he has not been is a leader. The town cruised along fat, dumb and happy, living by the old adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” I believe Shelley Brindle embodies a proactive and creative approach; “If you don’t fix it, it will break!”
I believe the time has come for a new vision and new strategy to serve all Westfielders. Shelly Brindle has my unqualified support to be that agent of change.