SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - It's been a rough couple of weeks beneath the City of Savannah's Gold Dome on Bay Street.
It appears that as Mayor Eddie DeLoach was going down with the sinking ship that is the city's newly implemented fire fee, City Manager Robert Hernandez was carefully crafting his very own private liferaft.
Last week, it was revealed that Hernandez, with less than two years on the job here in Savannah, has applied for, and is now one of 30 finalists for a similar job in Brownsville, TX. That new was just the latest in ill-timed revelations that have seemingly plagued City Hall for the past year-and-a-half. Things such as denying funding to Tara Feis, only to seek to commission a study to find more city-sponsored family-friendly events. Or better yet, imposing a cumulative $20 million surcharge on homeowners, business owners, churches, and nonprofits and then a few months later announcing you have a $10 million budget surplus.
Consider This: I give Hernandez credit for coming into Savannah and imposing a leadership and discipline that our city government had been lacking for years. I also give him credit for his creativity in seeking solutions to problems and not relying on the business as usual tactics, that again, have paralyzed our city for years. Where he's fallen woefully short, however, is underestimating this city's willingness to radically change at a rapid rate and the sheer resolve this community has when it doesn't like something.
After the news of the Brownsville job broke, Hernandez released a refreshingly honest statement in which he said he wants to work here, but he's not sure we want him to stay. He also says he does intend to stay. Of course, that is until he doesn't, or a better offer comes along.
Robert Hernandez was brought here to make tough decisions. He's done that, though some of the implementation was ham-fisted, to say the least. But - as the saying goes - when the going gets tough, the tough get going - and that appears to be what's going to happen with Savannah's city manager.