The Duluth twitter-verse was surprised yesterday with a tweet from Duluth Mayor Emily Larson. The self-righteous response was an attempt to put some meddling men in their place.
Unfortunately, the response comes off as juvenile, angry, and sexist – especially as the letter it was in response to comes to light.
To the gentleman who has privately & publicly denigrated me, my values, ideas, strength & determination: Thank You for the “offer” to “advise” me on “hard decisions.” I’m too busy leading to take you up on that.— Emily Larson (@LarsonForDuluth) May 7, 2020
PS: thx for offering to bring other men along, too!
A source close to the target of Emily’s response was able to provide the backstory to her tantrum:
Wednesday, a representative of a local business group emailed Mayor Larson with an offer of help. The group is willing to bring together local business leaders to work as an advisory panel for the Mayor’s team, at no cost to the city.
The panel offered to examine the budget and make recommendations on the hard decisions that the City of Duluth now faces with an anticipated $38 Million dollar budget shortfall. The suggested panel, which hinted at some well-known and respected names, would make recommendations that keep the well-being of citizens and businesses a top priority.
The group expressed, “We hope that you will accept this offer of assistance, and please know that the spirit in which we extend these services to you and the City of Duluth is to do whatever we can to get all of us through this crisis together.”
The snarky response the group received directly from the Mayor was unexpected, and some worry it shows that the stress of the current situation is taking a toll on Mayor Larson. Her response opened with a demeaning tone, saying: “I understand you want to be in the room where decisions are being made that impact our residents, businesses, and community.” and continued with the content of her tweet.
The Mayor found the group’s offer for help “offensive”, not only to her but to the elected councilors, staff, and business leaders the City is currently working with. However, it appears that some city councilors have not even been made aware of the group’s offer.
The Mayor closed her response with another shot that leaves local professionals shaking their heads, “We will not be taking you up on your offer to advise me and our team on making hard decisions. Because, frankly, we’re too busy making them. And we’re making them well.”
So far, those decisions seem miniscule in the scope of where the City is heading if tourism cannot resume shortly.
In this unprecedented time, there are no easy answers – accepting free help from local business leaders seems like a no-brainer. Emily’s insinuation that those leaders would all be men was an unfounded and angry assumption that was legitimately offensive.
A leader that is too insecure to accept an offer of help because she thinks it puts her credibility at risk is a poor leader. Unfortunately, that is the real takeaway from Mayor Larson’s response.
Bad leaders care about who is right. Good leaders care about what is right.Simon Sinek
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