Friday, August 18, 2006

Craig Malin, good guy

Since Ambrose over at SoLo is leading the charge that Craig Malin is a corrupt money waster, and I disagree, I'll provide a link to an article painting him in a bit different light than the one over on SoLo. I'm sure I'll be accused of various things because of this, but I'm pretty much used to it by now.

Craig Malin lives here -American City and Country

Just a few weeks after he moved his family from Vernon Hills to Superior, Douglas County District Attorney Dan Blank's house was firebombed on the order of a jailed gang leader. The bombing galvanized Malin, who was already feeling protective of his new home.

'I was so angry',” he says. 'Dan and his wife are the same age as I am. They live down the street from my house.' Malin was determined to find a way to show those responsible for the firebombing that the community would not tolerate their actions. He discussed it with his wife, Marcia. 'I want to put a sign in the yard that says, '‘Dan Blank lives here,'’”' he told her. She agreed.

The idea took root. Fariba Pendleton, a youth development educator in the county's extension office, and County Board Chair Doug Finn ran with it, extending it community-wide. The plan was that everyone in Douglas County would have a yard sign proclaiming his or her home as the residence of the Dan Blank family. Additionally, billboard companies donated space proclaiming the same thing.

This article makes Malin look like a saint. Ambrose's article makes him look like a power grabbing liar. Which is true? Probably neither. He's just a person trying to do a job. I urge anyone who feels the need to accuse him of things to have a conversation with him, or at least meet him before they attack.

Is he perfect? Of course not.
Is he corrupt, or purposely trying to steal? I do not believe so.
Is Davenport better off than we were before he was here? Yes
Is all of that because of him? Of course not.
Is some of it? Probably

Has he been a good city administrator with the exception of this pay raise scandal?
I believe he has.


Anonymous said...

If you live in an area that has no real issues, then Craig is your guy. But if you live in areas that need daily attention, then we get no remedy from him. Staff is generally lazy, unresponsive and could care less. Serioulsy. Who heads our staff, Malin does. We need a city adminstrator who can take charge and help get things done in this town. All we get is excuses for why this town looks like a shithole.

Anonymous said...

The people who live in the hole, make it what it is. And yes, it is indeed a shithole.

Ambrose Fulton said...

Malin lied about his title at the last job too. He was never county administrator even though he claimed it on his resume. More to come on that.

Hint: his actual title at Douglas County: ADMINISTRATIVE COORDINATOR WITHOUT AUTHORITY. Douglas County Ordinance 1.10.

It would seem he wrote his own county administrator of the year nomination since anyone working with him would have known he wasn't a county administrator.

Ambrose Fulton said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Yeah Malin likes to lead the charge to give himself positive press. That means he's a great politician. It doesn't mean he is above board ethically.

Anonymous said...

QCI, easily hoodwinked!

cruiser said...

I agree with QCI on this one. The last poster hit the nail on the head probably without knowing it. Malin is a politician with a powerful position in this city. The city seems to be running fine with him at the helm. He can't help with the crime rate, we don't have the money to hire more police. The new garbage system seems to work, even though I was against it at first, it works. Seems to me he gets in more trouble for going out of his way to avoid it. He probably will go elsewhere now and let's hope his replacement is half as competent as he is.

Anonymous said...

Cruiser, we have no money to hire police but Malin can hire two assistant city administrators? Seems to me you eliminate one and that's a police officer right there. We do not need a good politician we need a leader that cares about our city more than his resume.

Anonymous said...

YOu are correct, the bad landlords make it what it is - a shithole. That is why the city needs to rid us of bad landlords.

Anonymous said...

Most if not all of the problems in the bad areas are created by bad landlords and a lack of code enforcement, not the decent homeowners.

Anonymous said...

Does Dumas do anything????????????

Anonymous said...

Conservative Demo here:

The owner of this blog sez " . . Malin, good guy" because CM did a feel-good cheerleader pep rally type thing after an indisputed tragedy in a neighbor family's life. Well, that _was_ nice.

But that's as lame as the blog contributor who wrings his hands and writes, "Can't we all just get along?" in the middle of a particularly active thread.

SOLO is doing actual fact-finding and the facts he is apparently finding seem to point toward CM being, at the least an habitual liar.

Sorry QCI, liar vastly overrides good guy.

Anonymous said...

I was wondering about Dumass myself, the guy sits at the council meetings like he's in another world, doesn't participate at all and seems like he is bored by the whole thing.

You may not have like Tom Engelmann but you can't say he wasn't an active council member.

cruiser said...

anon at 10:29 show me politician who doesn't lie. What's the council doing about all this? Nothing. I still say things ain't broke don't fix em.

Anonymous said...

Conservative Demo here:

CRUISER rationalizes, "anon at 10:29 show me politician who doesn't lie. "

Weak defense, actually tells us more about CRUISER than justifies CM.

Now as to its value as a debate point . . . zero. CM is not a politician, he's an _employee_ .

I say again, liar vastly overrides good guy.

Anonymous said...

QCI why don't you check out some property in Dayton?

I think you would fit in well.

Anonymous said...

QCI for Mayor - we would be in a world of hurt then. He would write all the big checks to the real estate crowd and low income housing developers.

cruiser said...

All I saying Conservative Demo is that he doesn't lie any worse than the rest of them. Even Jamie Howard was quoted saying truth is subjective, your version of the truth and mine might not be the same. You want to boil him in oil, be my guest.

Anonymous said...

Enough of the boiling in oil talk.

Tar and feathers would be just fine!

QuadCityImages said...

Basically, I just don't think he's got the devious motives that people around here think.

To the posters saying he isn't capable of getting things done, I definitely disagree. I would say he sometimes exceeds his authority because of his passion for accomplishing things, whether it be a new stadium, or better neighborhood planning. I believe this bothered some council members from the start, but I don't believe Malin does it for illicit reasons.

However, its a reasonable opinion to want a city administrator that follows the council instead of leads. With the councils we've had lately I'd prefer having a professional at the helm, but I can see the other side's point too.

Anonymous said...

Truthiness is alive and well.

Under fire or not, school and city administrators continually look for greener pastures.

Tacitus said...

QCI -- Did you read the entire article you have cited in Malin's defense? Let me share a quote attributed to Mr. Malin which is found in the article on page 23 (July 2001 issue of American City and County)..."When you are a city or county manager, you are involved in a meritocracy as opposed to a democracy...When you are a city or county manager, every day you are doing the public's business rather than running for office every four years." Meritocracy -- leadership by the talented. Mr. Malin sees himself (and operates) as a supreme elected official -- lord over all the other elected officials -- because he doesn't have to stand for election and he was chosen by the other 'peon' elected officials to make the city run. Lord of the entire city. He was selected because he's a genius and everyone else must have recognized that fact. That's why to Malin the end always justifies the means. Shortly after he became city administrator at a meeting he had with city managers and supervisors he told them that their job was to decide what was best for the city and then sell it to the citizens. That's why, for example, we -- the citizens of Daveport -- are going to have a $1 million dollar skateboard facility on the river front. Did the citizes want it? No, the poll conducted to show support for the JOD renovations also showed by a 4-1 margin that the citizens had no interest in a skateboard facility. Who decided we wanted it and who himself wanted it? Craig "Sk8rboy" Malin. Thus, a skateboard facility was born. $1 million dollars would have fixed a lot of streets or torn down a lot of substandard houses. Review the information available; i.e., his resume. Malin only wants "yes" persons around himself and that's because he's already made the decision regarding whatever the issue is on the table and only want's his decision affirmed by what he perceives as his "inferior underlings". When he was offered the CA position he argued that he should be paid more than Pierce was being paid. Why? He hadn't proved anything at that point in time. Yet, our foolish elected officials did just that thereby also affirming to Malin that he could have the run of the town because he could bend and shape the elected officials. By your own admission there are a lot of things you don't know about Malin. He has two standards of conduct. One that's good for him and him alone and one that everyone else must live by. Do as I say and not as I do. Perhaps you should get some more information before you decide to further defend his honor or perhaps you're operating by another Malinism...if you have 40% of the information you'll make the right decision 80% of the time (unless, of course, you're talking about the legal department giving an opinion on whether Malin's entitled to cost of living wage increases; then it's a rush to judgment). If Malin stays his effectiveness will be forever diminished. If he doesn't leave soon there will be so much more dirty laundry aired that his career options will be greatly limited. I don't want a CA who believes and operates such that the end always justifies the means. Thanks, but no thanks.

QuadCityImages said...

Just because you don't want a skatepark doesn't mean we shouldn't have one. How many of us have ever used the city-owned tennis courts? I would be very willing to bet that the skatepark gets more use than them.

If you look around online you can find skating websites and blogs where kids are getting excited about the project already. But why would Davenport want to do anything to excite young people about their city? Againsters would much rather we keep the status quo and keep watching our youth move to more vibrant communities.

taci said...

Your rebuttal is to chastise the use of the skateboard facility AS AN EXAMPLE of Malin's stated belief that being a city administrator means he gets to operate as if he exists in a meritocratic form of government (with him at the head) instead of a representative form of government (with the council at the head making policy decisions) and label me an "Againster". As to me it's uniformed and as to my blog point it's no rebuttal at all.

QuadCityImages said...

I just dislike the skatepark being used as an example of things that shouldn't be built.

As far as him "running the show" I thought I already covered that, and somewhat agreed with what you're getting at.

I said:
"I would say he sometimes exceeds his authority because of his passion for accomplishing things, whether it be a new stadium, or better neighborhood planning. I believe this bothered some council members from the start, but I don't believe Malin does it for illicit reasons.

However, its a reasonable opinion to want a city administrator that follows the council instead of leads. With the councils we've had lately I'd prefer having a professional at the helm, but I can see the other side's point too."

Anonymous said...

My gut reaction to Malin has always been who elected him? He exceeds his authority and too bad many on the council support that. Citizens are fed up with being bounced from staff to council back to staff again. I voted for 4 people during the last city election and I'm 80%+ sure Malin was not on the ballot.

Anonymous said...

QCI -= when you you ever had a reason to be involved with Malin on an issue or a project or anything personally? Tell us what experience you have with him.

I have worked with him as a citizen on many issues and proposed projects and I can tell you we have a real problem with him.

It is important to speak in in a educated manner about him. I get the feeling you have never worked with him.

Anonymous said...

Tacitus for CA! I've been to the same city hall meetings where Malin has made statements that a small percent of the information will lead to the right decision the majority of the time. His percents change based on the meeting. I was once in a meeting where he had the balls to say 10% of the information leads to a correct decision 90% of the time. That's incredible and shows what kind of man he is. Don't think other employees are figuring they can get by with more watching Malin's loosey-goosey ethics.

QCI I admire you willingness to see the good in people. It's what endears you to many of us and also gives away your young age.

You have to realize that some people out there are a facade and what is underneath is pretty darn ugly. Not everyone, but some. Unfortunately Craig Malin is one.

You hit the nail on the head that he is passionate about getting things done so he exceeds his authority. However you miss his true motivation. Those that work with him on a regular basis know that what motivates him is not what is good for our city. What motivates him is merely what "accomplishments" he can add to his resume that look good.

To him, brick & mortar are what he likes to see on his resume. Things like exceeding debt limits and saddling property owners with tax and fee increases down the line have no meaning to him. He plans to be long gone by then. Just look at the factual articles SoLo blog has referenced on his past employer's experience after he left. A project that grew from $20 million to over $44 million.

And tacitus is right, he better leave soon because his reputation is going to start falling.

Also QCI, one more point. Did it ever occur to you that Malin did this nice guy stick up for the neighbor thing as a way to burnish his own image rather than it was the right thing to do? Somewhat like going to the Katrina aftermath. Those city coworkers that went shared stories that Malin did nothing but schmooze. He wasn't getting his hands dirty and he didn't stay long either. Just another line for "Saint Malin's" resume.

It's not a nice guy when you do things for yourself rather than others. Those that truly are nice guys are doing it silently and anonymously and truly giving of themselves rather than spending their employers money to do it.

QuadCityImages said...

It did occur to me, and I won't claim its not possible I'm wrong on this. I've used a lot of words like "I believe" and "in my opinion," regarding this topic. Despite my like for the way he runs the city, I still can't figure out what he was doing with the whole raise thing, and especially the charity offer.

As badly as he handled this, do you really think he's devious enough to have been ignoring the best interests of Davenport for years for purely personal gain? I am not saying that his resume doesn't cross his mind, but I just feel like he does care about Davenport's well-being.

I think we could do much worse on a CA, and I'm afraid we'll find that out.

Anonymous said...

QCI, I like your willingness to listen. You have some posters on this thread that are current city employees and have dealt with this man his entire tenure. We know exactly what we're talking about. It is resume vs. caring about Davenport. If he cared about Davenport, he would be sending his kids to Davenport schools - he isn't. Just one example.

Another example is that he started applying for other jobs instantly after he started here if you go back and review the newspapers.

Plus if you could hear him in small staff meetings and the rude and outright catty/childish remarks he makes about various citizens you would get a different picture of the man.

When he started we all wanted to like him, follow him and believe in him. Unfortunately that is not possible with a man like Malin. He really is all about himself and he doesn't care who else he makes look bad to do it.

Another example is his constant commentary that he doesn't have the information yet or just got it. Having watched several meetings where I knew darn well I had personally given him the information in question weeks ago, I cringed everytime he made our dept look like freakin' idiots when we had responded right away. He just didn't like the facts and had to figure out how to spin them first.

When he is gone QCI, I know a few of us would be more than happy to sit down, introduce ourselves and our jobs and give you hard facts and even show you some Malin correspondence, etc. that would prove our case.

He is good at fooling people. Too bad he didn't put as much energy into just trying to do his job.

Anonymous said...

I've been to meetings where Malin makes fun of certain aldermen too. Very demeaning and unprofessional behavior. He seems to thrive on having a council at each others throats because it takes time away from anyone looking over his shoulder.

Proof: councils have become increasingly divisive during his tenure even with new people on them. Plus interesting reading on the SOLO blog articles, his prior county seemed to be split about in half (15/13 was a vote sited) for a lot of key issues as well.

Malin likes to please just a core group of people and pit them against others.

Anonymous said...

the city needs to learn to do better with all contract negotiations. Things like penalty clauses and benefit issues should be standardized. "Boilerplate" as one alderman referred to it.

Also, in my opinion, Mr. Malin was smart enough not to bring up COLA's in his negotiation. "backpocketing" is the term for that action.

Anonymous said...

The editorial page of Sunday's QCT states that Malin's pay was budgeted at $156,801 in December of 2005 and this included COLA's.

I am really confused now, did Malin receive more than the approved amount? It now looks like he was paid the proper amount that was approved by the council.

If Malin received the correct amount the City of Davenport is in for one tremendous lawsuit.

Thanks to the Hammer and all of the other idiot aldermen that jumped the gun on this one.

Anonymous said...

Malin, FYI, also was the sole negotiator on the JOD lease contract which is where the aldermen raised the issue that a penalty clause was missing.

Various city staffers from legal and finance tried to point out that this and other things should be included in the lease contract but Malin threw them out of negotiations rather than listen.