Statement about Tom Crawford at July 20, 2021 Council Meeting

Jul 20, 2021 | City Council

I made the following statement about City Administrator Tom Crawford at tonight’s City Council meeting (July 20, 2021) during discussion of DC-7 (Resolution to Make Investigative Report Public and to Direct Actions to Work to Conclude Mr. Crawford’s employment as the City Administrator)

Mr Crawford has devoted nearly twenty years of his career to the City of Ann Arbor. We have many data points on a very long timeline to understand who Mr. Crawford is personally and professionally. Fundamentally, he is a collaborator: willing to hear people out and consider differing points of view. His commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity is an extension of his values and his optimism. Mr Crawford creates opportunities for people to be heard — he believes that we move forward by listening to each other.

The report that will be publicized includes careless and insensitive phrases, excerpted out of larger conversations, among a very small subset of our city staff. This report is not who he is, and yet Mr. Crawford accepts responsibility for it. Mr. Crawford’s response to this report is exactly who he is: a leader who holds himself accountable and focuses on the needs of his team. At every point in conversation about this report, Mr. Crawford has emphasized that the feelings of his staff are most important. He has resisted invitations to offer explanation or excuses because he felt that doing so would diminish the feelings of others.

He has made mistakes and owned them. He has prioritized the needs of others ahead of himself. He asked for a dialogue with city leaders and staff to craft solutions. We have rejected that dialogue. The message we send tonight is that there is no recovery from mistakes. We will not learn from mistakes or learn from each other. I believe this is the wrong message and it is not progress.

Some of us have points of reference, points of comparison for how Mr. Crawford has performed this job. I want to thank Mr. Crawford for his inclusive leadership of our city. I want to thank him for his optimism in the face of obstacles, his commitment to hearing and understanding different opinions, and his sincere collaboration with every single member of this elected body. Mr. Crawford has resisted ugly political dynamics, invited a range of perspectives to the table, looked for common ground, and treated everyone with respect. He stood up for the rule of law when others didn’t.

Wherever Mr. Crawford goes next will be lucky to have him. Our city suffers a serious loss in saying goodbye to him.