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Is it OK to ask a few questions now?

We have an expensive city spokesperson we do not need … the mayor did fine and most likely the next one will too. And one does not always get complete answers to questions posed.

An example would be, “How much did the city get for the old Obici Hospital site on Main Street? Like in round numbers.”

Or how much did the city recover when all the dust settled on the Hilton seawall fiasco?

Our city government has not been exactly transparent. The question is, will it be now with the big change on city council? And there could be more uprooting next time around.

We might even see a new city manager. Do you remember how we acquired the one we have? As a person, a veteran, I like Mr. (R. Steven) Herbert; but as a spender, I’m not so sure.

He was once an assistant city manager, right here in Suffolk. Myles Standish, another likable, fellow decided to step down and retire. He had groomed Herbert and wanted him to take over. But the city, protocol I suppose, spent many thousands on a national search. And then Council moved Herbert up. So can all that stuff about restoring downtown be credited to Standish?

When the next Council meets, there may be discussions concerning Herbert. Will someone call for another “no-confidence vote?” And if that happens, will the change in members change the result?

Will Herbert risk leaving with a pink slip, or decide to move on to greener pastures? And if he does, how many other heads will roll?

It seems there are personnel in city hall whose termination of employment would lower the city budget

considerably. And what will it cost to terminate? This will be interesting to watch.

Is the Jefferson School sold or not? There was a big fuss months ago about wanting it restored at the same time the Cultural Center comes on line. That was part of the line used to speed its sale. Even though the Cultural Center is behind schedule, it appears the Jefferson School, barring a miracle, will not be ready for a twin opening ceremony. The Council has agreed to contribute half a million of public money annually to keep it afloat. But many others suggest the city offer a declining stipend for only three years, figuring if it is such a good idea, it will pay for itself. We taxpayers already have several million invested, and it wasn’t supposed to be that way.

I’d like the current Cultural Center director to tell us “exactly” what will occupy the many rooms in that building … something more specific than a potter’s wheel, art classes, etc. Who will teach and at what price? Will future students pay for the instruction?

On local TV I saw the mayor, the Hilton Garden Inn manager, and the Cultural Center director in glowing terms, led on by the mayor, describing how the two facilities will not be in competition with each other. That’s of some concern because each will have a restaurant, gift shop, and conference rooms. Surely the Cultural Center will be far less expensive. The threesome is positive they will enhance each other. We, the taxpayers, have a lot invested in both.

You do realize that if the Cultural Center falls flat, it could become city hall. One city department has asked for space. And we have other departments scattered around town.

It might be less expensive to consolidate. It would help the Cultural Center stay afloat if our Tourist Bureau moved their Visitor Center in. And the Suffolk museum, loaded with culture, could even expand and enhance the Cultural Center if it opted for space.

I’m betting a new council will consider these moves. But perhaps it’s time to just drop these subjects entirely, and just sit back and observe.

What happened on election day was cataclysmic … a “sea change.” Suffolk is headed for a turnaround.

Contact the writer at pocklington@suffolknewsherald.com