The word "interim" means "transitional" or "temporary." Too often, when referring to an interim public official, it means someone who will keep the desk chair warm and do little else until the next official comes on board.
Sandusky has had better luck with its interim city managers than with its city managers of late. Don Miears lent a hand in the time period between managers Mike Will and Matt Kline -- and did an admirable job. Now city Law Director Don Icsman has been thrust into that position, and if anyone was expecting him to just be a seat warmer, think again.
Icsman, while admitting he reluctantly took on this task, has stated he will do whatever he can to help the city commissioners and city personnel straighten out problems Sandusky faces. He has been making good decisions and acting on some issues that had been pushed to the background in the last year or so. At city commission meeting, both commissioners and member of the public have praised Icsman for his prompt and courteous attention to their concerns.
Perhaps, the most refreshing aspect of his few weeks on the job is his candor. He has kept commissioners and the public informed of doings at city hall and seems to have a knack for telling people what they have to hear instead of what they want to hear. He -- and some commissioners -- are presenting facts about the state of the city, without sugar-coating them or dispensing unnecessary doom-and-gloom. The new prevailing sentiment seems to be "this is the way things are, and this is what we can do about them, so let's act responsibly now."
This between-managers time period is a short window of opportunity for the city to get a grip on some major problems it faces and start taking actions to remedy them. It is also a time to completely clear up some small problems, clearing the way for a clean slate for a new manager.
Icsman has asked commissioners for assurance his law director job will still be waiting for him when this interim period ends. He is wise to ask because some decisions he will have to make as acting city manager may require stepping on toes. If he is to do this job well, he should have assurances he won't live to regret his time as boss. The city would be wise to give him that assurance to make Icsman's time as city manager as productive as possible.