, Salem, MA

October 22, 2013

Letter: Slate has hands-on experience

The Salem News

---- — To the editor:

Apparently the second half of the old truism is “... and wherever there’s fire, there’s more smoke.” And plenty of it, given the latest (of four) glossy mailings from the Cahill campaign and letters from supporters where they focus on his Statehouse record to obscure attention to what will really count to us: his perfunctory performance on the City Council in his one term there.

When inauguration day comes, just like any president or governor, the new mayor will need to shift immediately from critic and cheerleader to manager. And in THAT role, we’ll want someone with more experience than a one-man lobbying office. I’m a firm believer in and longtime member of the YMCA, and I don’t at all denigrate their efforts to raise awareness and funding. And I don’t diminish the role of a lobbyist. But that’s what his job has been for the last eight years, a lobbyist.

Here’s where the smoke comes in again: Despite the imposing title, the executive director of the Alliance of Massachusetts YMCAs directs himself, the one employee. He isn’t managing staff or even managers. That isn’t a secret; it’s public record, on file with the secretary of state and the attorney general’s Division of Public Charities. But that fact is never mentioned on the “Experience” page or in the campaign literature. You’re left to imagine what executive director must mean. No doubt the grand title was originally crafted to raise his apparent status in grant applications and lobbying visits, but it sure gives the unfounded impression that he must be managing a large group of complex organizations.

In sharp contrast, Wes Slate has, indeed, for years had hands-on experience coordinating multiple concurrent project teams within large organizations and in support of large and complex clients. When it comes to stepping into the immediate, ongoing activities of the many city departments, making the strategic, tactical and just plain day-to-day operational decisions, working with the City Council and with the School Committee, Wes has the experience it will take. For this reason, I urge you to peer through the campaign smoke and vote for Wes, the one man who has done and will do the work.

Peter Johnson