Chula Vista has posted its “Recruitment Brochure” for its search for a new city manager.

You might remember my somewhat facetious one here.

But a reader pointed out an interesting passage in the want ad for the position:

The City is looking for an individual who is progressive; a forward thinker who is creative and innovative. The next City Manager should be a person who is politically astute but apolitical. A manager who treats each Councilmember equally and keeps them well informed is being sought.

Interesting. Someone who is indeed “politically astute” will know that the word “progressive” is most often used in place of “liberal” to refer to those most sympathetic with workers’ rights and unions, environmental concerns and improving the quality of life of the lower and middle classes. (See also Progressive San Diego.)

No politically astute person, in fact, who was looking for someone apolitical would ever say that they were specifically looking for someone who is progressive.

But let’s move on. “The next City Manager should be a person who is politically astute but apolitical.”

To be politically astute, you have to understand and discern what’s happening politically. In other words, Chula Vista’s leaders want a manager who is sensitive to their political problems. This would imply that he or she would have to try to protect them and react to their political challenges and desires. But, then they say that they want someone apolitical. This would mean that they want someone “not involved or interested in politics.”

Not easy to do.

And the next point. “A manager who treats each Councilmember equally and keeps them well-informed is being sought.”

This seems a little passive. Are they implying that the last manager didn’t treat them all equally?

So, now that we translated their little message, let’s update my employment ad for the position based on these new desired qualifications, however contradictory they may seem.

Wanted: City Manager, City of Chula Vista

Qualifications: Successful applicant will be liberal and politically astute but also not interested in politics. Experience dealing with a group of petty, childish and perpetually bickering Councilmembers preferred. The next City Manager will need to understand their political problems and try to help them, but be able to do it on the down low. A promise to treat them all equally, in fact, will be required. If, however, through his or her political astuteness, the new Manager discovers that two Councilmembers are bitterly jousting with each other for control of the City’s future, well, pick a side but try to pretend like you haven’t. Experience building massive bay-front convention centers without actually spending money a must. Supernatural powers to reverse the course of the national economy and get people to buy homes again a plus!

Don’t trip over yourselves trying to get your applications in.

SCOTT LEWIS

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