At the July 5th council meeting, I would like to thank the many residents and leaders who came out to say that council should move past the public bickering and name calling and focus on the issues that matter. I realize that my public criticism of council and its decision-making, often being the lone no vote, has isolated me, has deeply offended my colleagues, and has even polarized the public.
I apologize for my role in causing confusion and division. I have only meant to stand up for what I believe in.
I stood up for diversity in senior management hiring practices, because it is the right thing to do. We have one minority female senior manager now, and have had one minority male town manager in the past. Minorities and women do work as staff in Norristown. But no matter our past, we can and should do better in the present and in the future.
I support council’s desire to restrain costs, and I would support senior manager salary reform, that brings all of our top managers’ salaries in line with a readily defensible position, such as the averages in the National League of Cities 2009 survey of the average salaries of full-time municipal officials, conducted by the International City/County Management Association (ICMA).
We could compare the salaries of our senior managers to those in the survey for a baseline.
Finally, there have been some public comments accusing me of everything from bashing gays to assaulting women. This is false. I neither support homophobia nor misogyny. Such serious allegations cut right to the heart, and are publicly defaming me, my family and what I stand for.
I can assure you right now any credible matters are being addressed, and I will not attempt to litigate a legal matter in the court of public opinion, though I am well aware that the public has a desire and right to know the outcome. Following municipal legal counsel, I will not comment further, but will seek in the appropriate context, legal redress of all concerns, without burdening tax-payers.
No matter what, I stand by my commitment to diversity in hiring and contracting, my role in investigating 770 Sandy Street, my support for equitable funding in public education despite budget cuts, my personal lobbying of state and federal officials to do right by our community, and my commitment to work with grassroots organizations, including faith-based groups, to tackle gang and youth violence in Norristown.
But I have heard the public’s cry that I go about this in a way that heals, not hurts.
I commit to not allow my passionate political activism to be put to use as personal attack.
I will repair my relationships with council and the community to focus on the issues that unite us.
Marlon Millner, Norristown Councilman-at-Large