Compton residents voiced their concerns over the latest appointment to the City Manager position. During this week’s regular council meeting, Craig Cornwell resigned as City Attorney and was immediately appointed City Manager. Resident Chris Petit, who previously ran for Council District 3, gave an insightful observation of the appointment.
THOUGHTS ON THE COUNCIL MEETING 7/9/19Chris Petit
In the interest of positivity let me first say that I am praying and rooting for Craig Cornwell. I can’t afford to root against him because if he fails, then Compton fails. And I never root for Compton to fail.
Anyone who has ever known or met Craig will agree that he is extremely nice, extremely intelligent, professional, thoughtful and measured. He considers his words very carefully. All of these things are great qualities and the very qualities that we should desire in our leaders on the dais.
At issue, however, is not whether or not Craig is a nice and smart guy; the issue is whether or not Craig is the City Manager that Compton needs. I will state firmly and for the record that I don’t know the answer to this question yet.
It is quite possible that Craig was always meant to be a City Manager and was wasting away in the City Attorney’s office. I’ve known many people who have made a career change to something they had more of a passion for. Maybe he was an attorney who dreamed about being a City Manager. No sense being unhappy. Throw your hat into the ring and see what happens. I’ve done this recently myself. Craig might have been in the wrong position, and has the potential to shock us with his vision. Compton has sunk so low, there is absolutely nothing but upside anyways right?
Yet here is where I differ with some fellow Comptonites. Because while I have stated that I don’t know whether he will make a great City Manager; what I do know is that many of Compton’s most outspoken activists required 2 very important things in relation to the next City Manager.
The loudest voices required that
1.) A nationwide search be conducted
2.) They desired a City Manager with experience.
So now that we have appointed the position, I must ask; Did we conduct a nationwide search? Does our new appointed CM have CM experience?
The answer is no on both counts, which is why we have to be honest about this appointment being a peculiar choice. Honestly I’m not quite sure if Cecil Rhambo was the result of a nationwide search, but to the second question, he did have experience.
I don’t cape for people, they have to stand on their own two feet. Cecil has to hold his own. But in terms of experience the former CM was the #3 ranking officer in the LASD, commanded staff at least 9,000 and directed a budget and resources approaching $100 million or more. He worked jails, gangs, SWAT, LACC and Metro.
But that’s not even important. After 31 years in the LASD, Rhambo was an Assistant CM in Carson. Regardless of the number of years in Carson or whether it was the top position there…Cecil had more experience to start with than Craig in administration, budgeting and being a part of a CM’s office.
You can’t just switch facts based on who you like or don’t like. Just say that Craig doesn’t have the experience but we’re willing to work with him. But don’t say that he’s the one we need based on his proximity to the office he’s assuming. In other words when certain folks stop lying about Rhambo’s experience, then others will stop lying about Craig’s qualifications.
The State report nor the follow up made any mention of this move being necessary. If it was mentioned at all it was an unofficial and off-the-record recommendation. And that’s fine too, but just say it. Compton activist and the leaders on the dais seem to be ok with violating their own principles and rules to justify every single thing they want to do. We don’t have time for a nationwide search. We need someone who’s been here?
I’m willing to let Craig prove his fitness for the job and I promise I will. Just stop the double-speak and be real. Just stop telling me how fit he is; because no one would have said that 6 months to a year ago.