Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government this week posted video of an interview with former Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, who visited the university last month to talk about his term as mayor.
In the video, Fenty (D) speaks proudly of his work on education reform and what he thinks cities need in their leaders. After expressing solidarity earlier in the month with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), outspoken adversary of public employee unions, Fenty continued in that vein: “I am one of those people who believes that governments have grown too big, that their size is too self-serving and that there are a lot of rules that have been set up to allow the government to just continue working rather than to provide services to people.”
“It’s a very funny thing,” he continued. “Mayors like me, governors like me think that service delivery justifies the means.”
Fenty spends much of the interview reflecting on whether he might have salvaged his mayoralty by being a less-aggressive reformer: “From a political standpoint, I would not say we were a great success, so to speak. ... Therein lies the discussion; therein lies the interest from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Is there a way to provide the results and get the politics, or does one sacrifice the other?”
For a political science class he is co-teaching at Oberlin College, his alma mater, later this year, he said he would be exploring “that thin line between engagement, involvement, consultation on one side and on the other side, slowing down decision-making, watering down decision-making, being counterproductive and not results-oriented — how do you get that perfect balance?”