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Firing Fireworks



 Eureka City Manager David Tyson and the Eureka City Council can't have it both ways ("Why Was Garr Fired," June 30). Mr. Tyson fired Chief of Police Garr Nielson with the council's blessing, but no one wants to talk about it, so they are calling it a confidential personnel decision. But Chief Nielson was officially fired "without cause," which means it wasn't a personnel matter-it was a management decision. And management decisions are not supposed to be secret. In fact, council members are elected and city administrators are hired because of their management acumen. So the fact that no one is talking is quite troubling. Voters can only be suspicious of management decisions that no one will defend publicly.
 At the very least, Mr. Tyson and the council members who agreed with the firing of the chief should have been able to explain to the public what they envision for the Eureka Police Department in the future. They could have explained what qualities they want in a chief, without relating it to Garr Nielson. After all, they will shortly begin the search for a new chief, and if the old chief wasn't right for Eureka, what criteria will they use to judge the applicants?
 Instead of being honest and forthright with the public, the council and city manager have hidden behind the charade of personnel confidentiality and a bland statement about a "difference in management styles." That's not much for the voters to go on, though sometimes a little information is all voters need to make a management change of their own.

Scott Brown, Eureka

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