What kind of confidence could the guy have in making future decisions if the council doesn't agree with him on this? Would it dispirit him? Make him second-guess each decision he makes in the future?
Anyone in the city manager's position needs to know he's got the support of his council.
Stewart has been on the job for over a year now and I think the council has offered plenty of opportunities to demonstrate their support and faith in him. They have not questioned any of his other personnel decisions, they backed his recommendations to create an assistant city manager position and they have put a great deal of faith in his ability to recruit business to Knoxville.
With all of these things, I think representing the public in the fire chief case would not have dispirited our city manager. Besides, he's not a child who needs to be coddled, especially in an instance where the responsive public has been so overwhelmingly supportive of leaving the fire department's leadership as is. The bottom line is, I think the council let their constituents down and have further added to that stereotype that Knoxville City Hall does not listen. This will ultimately be counterproductive to the council's efforts to improve its appearance and relationship with the people.
Take care of yourself and thank you for reading.