Editorial: Report on city shows problems, challenges

The preliminary report of the city of Willmar Organization Review provides an embarrassing image of this city, its government and the community's perception of that government.


The preliminary report of the city of Willmar Organization Review provides an embarrassing image of this city, its government and the community’s perception of that government.

Among the concerns noted in the report were: poor council image, lack of vision, lack of trust, poor staff morale, council dysfunction, inefficiencies, conflict with other government entities and an overall breakdown of the city government’s culture.

The consequences of the state of the current city culture are a loss of employee productivity, disengaged employees, staff turnover, recruiting challenges, limited change capacity and a negative impact on city services.

The external view of the city from citizens, community leaders, business leaders and other government officials is a significant lack of vision by the city and strained relationships within the council.

Anyone who reads this study and the comments summary can see that much of it was heartfelt. It is uncomfortable to read or discuss as it portrays challenging and serious issues.


It does not serve this city’s future when some council members or the mayor do not believe this council has any problems, cannot believe various issues raised in the preliminary report or have not even read the preliminary report completely.

Just blaming this council’s various problems upon the messenger - be it the city administration, city employees, community leaders, business leaders, West Central Tribune, other government entities or how a concern is brought forward - is not constructive nor does it demonstrate leadership.

All on this council and the mayor claim they want input from all involved in the city. Unfortunately, some on the council then just go on the defensive attack, fail to listen or just blame the messenger.

The results of this preliminary report should be read, reviewed, studied and taken into consideration as the council moves forward.

If the citizens of Willmar, the business leaders, community leaders, community groups, the media or other government entities are viewed as “outside forces” in this city, the dysfunction of some on this council or this mayor is worse than anyone has ever imagined. The inability to accept criticism and move past criticism is not a good leadership indicator.

This city is a democracy, not a kingdom. The council leads for all in the city, not just those who agree with certain council members or the mayor and their actions.

This council and the mayor have a communication failure with many sectors of this city, a lack of vision and poor listening skills, which are all symptomatic of the overall dysfunction they have created.

The major question now is how this City Council and this mayor will move forward on this opportunity, make improvements, reconnect with all community sectors and other government entities, plan for the future and efficiently serve all of this city’s nearly 20,000 citizens, the business community, government entities and community groups.

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