Did former City Manager Guy Scaife’s management style create “escalating discord” at City Hall? Or was he the victim of retaliation by department heads and elected officials who did not like the changes he was making?
That depends entirely on whom you ask, but, in a nutshell, those seem to be the two opposing views of the tenure of Scaife, who served little more than a year and was fired by the City Council just weeks after it had granted him a raise.
In December 2017 the City Council voted 8-4 to fire Scaife, citing discord at City Hall, particularly between Scaife and department heads. Scaife filed a lawsuit in May 2018, accusing top staff and elected officials of engaging in a retaliation campaign against him that resulted in his termination.
Those questions about what happened and who’s to blame will not be answered here. What matters now is the resolution of the federal discrimination lawsuit Scaife filed against the city after his firing: How long will it take and how much will it cost Meriden’s taxpayers?
In that regard, it is probably a positive development that both sides are “discussing the possibility of mediation” to settle the case. This sounds like a sensible alternative to a full-scale court battle, with all the costs and delays that would entail. Many will remember the long and very expensive process the city went through in order to cut its ties with former Police Chief William C. Abbatematteo in 2005.
May this city never have to go through something like that again.
Let’s hope the Scaife case can be resolved through mediation. It would be better for all involved.