It’s fascinating how things like this work. Shortly after word of his hiring had hit the print edition of your Landmark last week, thoughts and opinions about Wes Minder, who has been appointed Platte County’s first official county administrator, started arriving in my email inbox and on my phone.
Minder most recently served as the City of Kansas City’s director of water services. He previously served as Kansas City’s innovation engineer and as an assistant city manager, and spent 10 years in the KC public works department overseeing capital projects.
I know Minder a little bit but mainly through social media and a couple of short conversations at public meetings. So it’s too early for me to have any strong feelings about how he will perform as county administrator.
With that in mind, let it be known that I didn’t even work to solicit opinions or do any reaching out to gauge reaction. Readers didn’t need prompting. They were anxious to share some of their feelings about Minder and his hiring. And the reactions came from an eclectic mix of sources and ranged from the very positive to the very blunt in the less-than-positive department.
Here are some reactions that came in from readers:
•“Wes Minder? Wasn’t he the Line Creek Loudmouth on Twitter? He’s a different cat. Your taxes are going to go up for bike lanes,” said one reader who is familiar with Minder’s online fascination with bicycles and how he loves bike lanes on public roadways.
Yes, here at Between the Lines headquarters, we encourage you to find a lover who looks at you the way Wes Minder looks at bike lanes. Everybody should prepare to make room for your two-wheeled traveling friends in specially dedicated bicycle lanes of traffic on county roads, I guess.
•“It will be interesting to see how the commissioners adapt to being led,” was another reaction, questioning whether the county administrator and the three county commissioners will eventually butt heads.
•“He strikes me as the kind of guy who won’t want the commissioners telling him what to do,” was another piece of feedback.
•“Wes had a good track record with KCMO. Respected and keeps his powder dry. It will be newsworthy to see how the county accepts his role,” was a very positive reaction sent my direction.
•“It will be a challenge for him to build a teamwork environment,” said another.
•“OMG. They hired him. Joke. He was a laughingstock in KCMO.”
•“They (the City of KC) didn’t know how to get rid of him or shut him up and sent him to pasture in the KC Water department.”
•“I don’t know him personally but have heard enough from both sides that he’s a paper tiger. They have been tricked.”
•“They (county commissioners) set him up for every officeholder and staff member to be bitter about his salary ($200,000). Why are commissioners only there one day a week while other officeholders are there full time? Cut commissioners’ salaries 80% to reflect their one-day-a-week effort.”
•“FYI. Wes Minder. New county administrator is the guy everyone got into it with at the last KCI wastewater meeting. He was smug, arrogant, and cocky, cocky, cocky (that’s three cockies).”
•“My only dealings were watching how he interacted with the people at the wastewater meeting and he was terrible. He took a bad situation and managed to make it worse. So glad I’ll be helping to pay his $200k per year.”
•“$200,000? Frank White makes $240,000 a year as a county executive in a county four times larger. And that’s ridiculous. Geezus.”
I know it’s the Christmas season but I’m pretty sure that last commenter wasn’t making a religious statement or comparing Wes Minder to the Holy Spirit.
So we can draw this conclusion: Mention the name Wes Minder and you’ll immediately get some emotions and reactions from people. Some good, some bad, very few indifferent.
The only other local administrator I can recall who was able to emit a wide range of emotions like that from the general public was Platte City’s former city administrator Keith Moody, and most of us remember how that played out. Moody had good financial skills but his people skills were borderline awful.
And if you don’t recall how it went, here’s a brief summary: After several years of 75% to 80% of the town complaining about bad experiences with Moody and 20-25% of the town defending him, Moody was eventually fired by a board of aldermen who had seen and heard enough.
I don’t bring this up as a prediction, just mentioning the similarities.
Longtime readers know how much I love NFL football but I gotta say a lot of the league has been a tough watch this year. Quarterback play across the league has to be at a modern day low, don’t you think? There are just some bad, bad quarterbacks in the NFL right now. So many low scoring games. Add that to the controversial pieces of officiating that are occurring in nearly every game and it makes for games that haven’t been nearly as enjoyable. I’ve even skipped a Sunday or two of watching games this season, which is rare for me.
Here’s how bad it is: The drop in quality of play in NFL contests motivated me to sit down and watch a couple of college games this season. Not a big college football fan because: No. 1: My Saturdays are spent doing other things and 2. There are just so many meaningless games in that sport. Also, though they’ve taken out some of the clock stoppages in the past year or two, the college games still last way, way, way (another three way, congratulations to me) too long to hold my interest.
Now that they’ve eliminated some of the clock stoppages, they need to do something about the length of halftime in college games. College football halftimes are something else, man. I’ve seen marriages that didn’t last that long.
Next week, let’s check in on how we’re doing with that NFL futures bet that I advised you to make back in August. I described it as my “buy yourself a boat” suggestion this year. Do you recall what the pick was? I know at least one Between the Lines reader does. He visited our office on Thanksgiving Eve and let me know that he had followed my recommendation on this win total wager. Pressure’s on. Be here next week for the update.
(You’ll find Ivan Foley checking his messages for more reactions to the county administrator hiring)