Marc Dorsey earned his job as Bethlehem’s Superintendent of Highways through a vote of confidence from us residents. It’s an unusual way compared to how the rest of us interviewed and demonstrated our qualifications. Especially difficult for him was that he never worked for the Town let alone its highway department. But, he had practical experience. More than practical experience, he had leadership qualities honed through a career with the military. This was impressive enough for the public to vote him in over a popular incumbent who was getting the job done.
The 2019 race between Dorsey and Tiger Anastasi is not one you could describe as political. In the case between Dorsey and Tiger, there wasn’t much to say. Tiger was an Independent, though he ran on the Republican line, too. Dorsey garnered the Democrats endorsement, and so he appeared on the ballot.
We’ve heard from many who have run on the Republican line how difficult it is to be Republican today. Whether you agree or not, you must agree that once you identify yourself as Red or Blue you often welcome yourself to a debate. It’s just how it is. But, in recent years, Bethlehem has run with Democrats like they once did with Republicans for a near century. As Mel Brooks might say, “It’s good to be Blue.”
Dorsey has made mistakes since taking office. He sold off equipment before getting the board’s approval. When it went to vote, the board didn’t know $1,800 of machinery was already sold. Now, he’s spent more than what was budgeted for our compost facility. Where he’s supposed to ask for approval for anything over $20,000, he blew past that figure and already spent the money.
It’s hard to recognize those moments in which you need to ask a question when you feel confident you already have the answer. That happens. The measure of a man who makes a mistake and sparks the condemnation of those around him is how he responds in the heat of that moment. That’s where we read Dorsey’s apology and start asking our own questions.
In our book, leaders are individuals who share the accolades with the whole team and take sole responsibility for the mistakes made by it. Harry S Truman said “The buck stops here.” He wasn’t talking about money. He was talking about responsibility. All the decisions, and the ramifications that come from them, fell upon his shoulders. Read the words of Dorsey’s apology and subsequent explanation to the Town Board.
He’s passing the buck.