By Don Day
Much of the umbrage directed at Mr. Gray stems from the fact that Mr. Gray has replaced a number of department heads on city staff. What gets lost in the noise is that Mr. Gray was hired by council to change the culture at City Hall, to upgrade key staff position consistent with the growth of our city and to make McKinney a more user friendly community. Change is always difficult and particularly when it involves changing some of the City’s almost 900 employees. The majority of these personnel changes where expected by Council and therefore Mr. Gray is being chastised for doing the job he was hired to do.
Something else that has gotten lost in the noise is the fact that last month, in December 2013, McKinney City Council awarded Jason Gray a performance bonus for exceptional work during 2013. Despite rumors to the contrary, the Council vote to award Mr. Gray the bonus was a unanimous vote for approval by all council members.
As to some of the other misinformation: First, the police video contract change. This has been called both corrupt and wasteful. In fact what it consisted of was an old outdated video system that failed to function a good part of the time that was upgraded to a better system that works all the time. Since these video systems protect our policemen from false charges and protect our citizens from over zealous officers, we want these systems to be reliable. This purchase followed all City and State procedures and was approved by City Council in a public meeting. To call it wasteful indicates a lack of information and to call it corrupt is a lie.
As to McKinney lacking transparency, that charge stems from the fact that the former Police Chief’s policy was to refer all open records request to the State Attorney Generals Office. Upon the former Chief’s departure, that policy was changed.
In summary, McKinney is a great City and is well managed. Watchdogs are welcome because we have nothing to hide. However, a watchdog group should consider that rumors are rarely accurate and that there are generally two sides to every story. Spreading false information based on unverified rumors hurts everyone, including the City of McKinney, the City Manager, the City Staff and the purveyors of the false information, since the truth eventually is known and lost credibility and lost respect is hard to regain.