OFF BEAT: Will won't

CLARIFICATION: City Manager Mike Will spoke about 2005 at his 2006 State of the City address.
Brandi Barhite
May 24, 2010


CLARIFICATION: City Manager Mike Will spoke about 2005 at his 2006 State of the City address.

Where there is a way there is no longer a Will.


Mike Will gave notice Thursday of his intent to leave for a job in the private sector -- nearly three years after becoming the youngest city manager ever.

I can't say I am surprised.

When he distributed buttons at his 2006 State of the City address they read, "Where this is a way, there is a Will."

It seemed forced.

Will is not a campaigner.

He's not a politician.

And the 35-year-old manager certainly doesn't thrive on being a public figure.

Will is a work horse. A don't bother me, I have to get this done kind of person.

Will doesn't have time for pesky public appearances, press conferences and all of that other stuff involved with being a public figure.

He just wants to work -- in his own corner and not be questioned. He's almost uncomfortable in the spotlight, although has done plenty to garner it.

Will deserves credit for getting the Paper District project rolling in 2003. He rescued it from the hands of developers who bowed out right after Will was hired as economic development specialist in 2002.

He wooed and then ultimately got Mid-States Development, Dublin, Ohio, on board for the downtown revitalization project, which may or may not continue without him now.

He then got the ball rolling on cleaning up the many environmentally contaminated properties in town and then secured a $3 million grant for his beloved Paper District.

More recently Will put the city on track by putting its goals on paper. A simple idea he called a strategic plan that others before him had thought best left up in the air.

But for all his merits and all the reasons he outshines managers before him, Will wasn't meant for the job.

His actions Thursday once again proved that.

The leader of our city didn't return a call for comment about his resignation.

When we inquired about coming to his office to talk, his secretary said "he would prefer not to."

I left a message on his cell phone. Nothing. Another reporter called his office, cell and at home. Nothing.

That's not OK.

Not when you are paid $96,900 in city tax dollars.

It doesn't matter how much you despise the spotlight; how uncomfortable you are as the center of attention; or how much you don't like the paper, you are a public servant Mike.

By talking to reporters you are talking to your community.

When you are working for a private company -- which you soon will -- you have no obligation to talk to us.

The city manager position wasn't meant for you. You cared too much about the task at hand and didn't want all the extras that come with being city manager.

When you are leader of a community, you owe us a quote, a moment of your time.

Giving us time is giving the people time because they read the paper.

Even when there was good news to announce, you couldn't be reached.

I believe you were already onto your next project.

Getting a new job.