UPDATE: After a mayoral forum at the San Luis Hotel today, I asked Mafrige about the video.
Mafrige said that he remembered Yarbrough’s comment, but explained that it had come during a question about what qualities the mayoral candidates believed the next city manager should have.
Mafrige, who answered first, gave a list of qualities, and then added that he believed they described Yarbrough and joked that the former county judge should apply for the job.
When it was Yarbough’s turn to answer the question, the moderator of the event asked if Yarbrough had thoughts about Mafrige’s joke. That’s when Yarbrough answered “I don’t want to work that hard.”
When asked whether he thought that the scenario that he described was one accurately portrayed by his campaign’s video, Mafrige said he didn’t know.
“I haven’t seen it,” Mafrige said.
Last night, I saw what I think is the first attack ad of this year’s Galveston mayoral race.
The video was shared by Don Mafrige’s campaign Facebook page and is posted on a YouTube page also set up by the campaign. Mafrige’s official campaign website has links to both pages.
There’s not very much to the video. It opens with a static shot of Jim Yarbrough accompanied by soaring music. It then transitions into a very short sound bite of Yarbrough saying “I don’t want to work that hard.”
That same sound bite is then repeated 11 times.
It’s not clear when and where the video was shot. The video shows Yarbrough sitting at a plastic table next to fellow candidate Raymond Guzman. Over the past few months, various political and neighborhood groups have held forums with the candidates.
The video doesn’t provide much context on its own. A description on the YouTube page says that Yarbrough was responding to a question about whether he would be interested in being city manager.
The same description then asks, “If he can't do the job of being city manager then how could Jim Yarbrough possibly be up to the job of mayor?”
That line of thought is one I haven’t heard before.
Under the city’s charter, the mayor has no administrative powers or duties. Like other council members, the mayor’s position is unpaid.
Like the city manager, the mayor does have an office at city hall, but there is no explicit requirement for the mayor to be at city hall at any time except when council meetings are being held. Indeed, some council members have received criticism about being at city hall too often.
Under Galveston’s system of government, the city manager is the chief administrative and executive officer. The city manager is paid — former city manager Michael Kovacs had an annual salary of $140,000 — and is expected to spend a certain amount of time working on city business.
Under Kovacs’ contract, the city manager was “expected to engage in the hours of work that are necessary to fulfill the obligation of the position” and “must be available at all times.”
Here’s the video:
When the new council is elected, one of its first orders of business will almost certainly be to begin a search for a new, permanent city manager. In the meantime, that job is being filled by interim City Manager Brian Maxwell.
What do you think? Does Mafrige’s video change your opinion about Yarbrough? Should the mayor be expected to work “as hard” as the city manager?