To the Editor,

First, I want to make it clear that I know and have great respect for Paul Stevens and his family. He is a good man and a strong Christian. His statement to the council and city proved him to be all the good things people have been saying about him.

Second, I know Mayor Strength and have nothing but the utmost admiration for him. Under his leadership as mayor, our city has not only shown incredible growth but has developed a plan which will put us in a position for continued success by bringing in new industry and creating more jobs.

Third, I read a letter to the editor critical of the council for their lack of experience running an organization the size of Waxahachie. I have never run a city, but I have been senior vice president of a large insurance company in Seattle where I was responsible for nationwide offices, which employed over 1,000 people. I was also president of the second largest wholesale insurance brokerage firm in the United States so I feel that I at least have the background to comment.

One of the first lessons I learned when put in a position of leadership came from a very successful business person who said that If you can’t make a personnel change for the good of the organization then you should not hold the position that has the responsibility for doing so. Making the decision is to replace someone is one of the most difficult a leader has to make. It becomes even more difficult when a person is as well liked as Paul Stevens. However, being well liked is not one of the reasons not to make a change when one is needed.

Several have complained about the lack of transparency. I don’t know all of the reasons for the change but I know Mayor Strength well enough to know how difficult his decision was and his overwhelming desire to not in any way damage Mr. Stevens’s reputation or his character. Like any good leader, he is taking the criticism rather than building a case for his actions. We should admire him rather than all the vitriol being heaped upon him and the other members of the council.

I ask you to look around our city at the new high school under construction, the state of the art hospital, the revitalization of downtown, new playgrounds on the east side of downtown, new businesses and jobs being created and most of all the plans for the future already in place. If you do, my hope is that you put aside the words about voting all the members of the council out of office and get behind and support their efforts.

I would like to end this as I start by thanking Paul Stevens for his services to the city and wishing him and his family happiness and success for the future.

Marcus Payne, Waxahachie