Sunday Column — Wanted: CEO or Superhero?

The Cedar Rapids City Council is in the market for a “Flood CEO.” I think it’s a fine idea.But I’m afraid the city may have trouble finding the right candidate. Based on what I’ve heard from some city leaders, it’s going to be quite a job. So I wrote a want ad.

Position: Flood CEO. Although that may change. We haven’t decided at this point. May also be czar, generalissimo, poobah, admiral, viceroy, etc. The successful applicant also will be the one we’ve been waiting for breathlessly to lead us, with the fate of our city hanging in the balance. Job may involve high-pressure situations.

Compensation: Eighty percent of the salary will be paid for with private donations, with 20 percent paid by the city. Still, you will be responsive to city leadership. No, seriously, you will.

Supervision: The successful applicant will report to the city council. No, wait, you will report to the city manager. No, city council. No, it’s the city manager, unless the private donors object, of course. In any event, the Flood CEO will be expected to carry out the clearly stated and non-confusing directives of city leadership.

You also will be expected to work closely with the city manager, even though the CEO’s very presence could be seen as a criticism of the manager’s past performance and a direct challenge to his authority.

Duties: 1. Voice of the Community. The successful applicant will be expected to clearly and persuasively communicate a cohesive message from the city council, city staff, other local governments, several consulting firms, the RRCT, the EPRC, FEMA, HUD and 73 other entities with names that escape us.

The Flood CEO will forcefully dispel the persistent notion that the city has been unable to locate its backside with both hands during the past nine months. This will require an authoritative but positive explanation of present and future actions. The chosen applicant also may be ordered to travel backward in time to fix past boo-boos. Candidates untethered to the space-time continuum preferred.

2. Point of Contact for State and Federal Government. The successful applicant clearly and concisely will deliver the community’s message to the Statehouse and the halls of Congress. The CEO needs to track multiple issues and agencies in Cedar Rapids, Des Moines and Washington. The CEO must consent to being cloned.

3. Project Management Expert. The Flood CEO must amass a full knowledge of all flood-related projects and master intricate details. Expertise in construction, project management, public administration, disaster response, demolition, reconstruction, historic preservation, cultural studies, architecture, landscaping, botany, anthropology, sociology, archaeology, philosophy, mixology, origami and scrapbooking is a plus.

Dress: Superhero casual. Please provide your cape.

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