The Madison Professional Police Officers Association did not need to alert us to the facts regarding Mayor Satya Rhodes Conway. They approved a vote of no confidence in her stewardship of the city, but all one needs to do is walk down any street and strike up a conversation to best understand the deep concerns residents have about the mayor.
Her “unhealthy portrayal” of police creates an “us versus them” dichotomy, the union said in a statement, that “is particularly dangerous at a time when city agencies and entities should be working collaboratively to address an increase in burglaries, car thefts, weapons offenses (including shots being fired daily all over the city) and, sadly, attempted and completed homicides too often claiming the lives of young Madisonians.
Her tenure has been a colossal failure of leadership. A professional, who often interacts with the powers of the city government, told me last week no matter who is in the room with the mayor, she believes she is still the smartest one. That blunder in self-judgment accounts for much of the mess that has unfolded since she took office.
Rhodes-Conway is not well-suited for the office she holds, having amply demonstrated her profound lapses in judgment as State Street was looted and our police officers not supported. That is, in part, why there is now an attempt to recall her from office.
The recall effort has now been offered a very credible foundation with the announcement of the police union vote. I was hoping and waiting for a seasoned and responsible segment of the city to stand up and offer a reason that people should engage with the recall effort.
I was not at all pleased with the partisan nature of those who first assembled the recall. I have withheld any mention of the recall from this blog for that very reason. Having a former Republican assembly candidate as the lead messenger was a dreadful start to what should have been a more inclusive and broad-based approach to meet the needs of the city.
And Madison is in need of real leadership now. To get there we need more voices like that of the police union heard, and far fewer missives from Jon Rygiewicz, who filed a petition with the city clerk to begin circulating petitions to force Rhodes-Conway into a recall election.
No one can be pleased with the lack of leadership from this mayor over the past months. Our city can not afford to think about three more years of having ‘the smartest one in the room’.
And so it goes.