If you believe that good things come in threes, then we can hope that the anticipated third event in a recent cycle in the City of Newburgh will be very good for all concerned.
The first event in this cycle was the announcement Sunday that Michael Ciaravino will be leaving his job as city manager at the end of the year. His departure is not good news in itself. He has a long list of accomplishments and most likely could have added more had he decided to stay. But he made this decision on his own. He was not forced out, as so many of his predecessors were. He does not leave a mess, as did so many in the past. He is not departing because of the nasty politics that had him in a kind of limbo where there might not be enough votes on the City Council to give him the salary and security he deserved but also not enough votes to send him away.
He is leaving on his own terms, leaving after the budget for the next year has been shaped. The city he leaves in better shape than he found it should say thanks.
The second event in the cycle is the first official thank you, coming from Mayor Torrance Harvey who praised Ciaravino because “he has worked at full capacity and has done an amazing job in terms of crisis – tornado, the water contamination.” Harvey also correctly pointed out that “We had our differences as well, but that is to be expected in a healthy, functional, working relationship between a mayor and a city manager.”
And in that notion comes the hopes for the third event, the notion that the council will be able to do what it has not been able to do in decades — come together to find a competent new manager to pick up where Ciaravino left off, to give a new manager full support even if the person is not everyone’s first choice, to offer the guidance, backing and security that should come with a job well done.
As a parting gift to the city, Ciaravino set the right tone in his letter to the mayor, council and staff. He did not even the score or even hint at the conditions he has had to endure.
“The past four and half years have been very rewarding. I have had the great honor and pleasure of working with a first rate team. Together we overcame many obstacles and accomplished many goals with respect to clean water, dilapidated infrastructure, stabilization of the police department and improved safety within our community. Our efforts brought new life and revitalization to our community.”
Yes they did. And nowhere was his ability on better display than in the crisis over contamination in the city water supply. He was the first to sound the alarm, a move that brought criticism including a critical editorial in this newspaper. But he was right and every subsequent development on that issue has shown just how right he was.
The City of Newburgh will be lucky to find another manager as good as he has been.