A Meeting with the Mayor

Earlier this summer, I got a chance to present a report that I have been working on for the City of Philadelphia to Mayor Michael Nutter and about two-thirds of his cabinet. It was fascinating to me to see firsthand the inner workings of a mayoral administration, and particularly of this mayoral administration.

Mayor Nutter is, as advertised, cordial and inquisitive. There was pretty wide participation amongst his cabinet members, with no one or two people dominating the conversation. There was a genuine spirit of public service, as well as a commendable balance of pragmatism (a realistic view of the difficulty of operating such a large bureaucracy as the City) and idealism (despite that, we want to get this issue right and effect real change for the people). I found the experience to be encouraging as a citizen and affirming as a consultant, for I saw in the group and in the group's leader a real desire to do the right thing in the right way for the right reasons.

I know we all have our gripes about bureaucracies in general and this present administration in particular, and I am no different. And, even this positive experience had its moments. But it was still good to be invited in, and I would still consider it positive overall.

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