By Dan Haley
Some Oak Park travelers recently made their way back home through Sarasota, Florida. That's where Tom Barwin, Oak Park's former manager, is now employed as city manager. They were kind enough to bring a copy of the editorial page from the Herald-Tribune. And on Sunday, Feb. 3, at least, that page was all Tom Barwin, all the time.
Barwin made the paper's editorial for his effort to deal with the issue of chronic homelessness. He has convened a working group of government, non-profit and philanthropic folks and they have created a plan, applauded by the paper, to add social workers to focus on the issue.
And in the local columnist's piece Barwin was cited for having hired the first female police chief in Sarasota's history. Together, the columnist said, their job was to deal with lingering racial tensions between cops and residents of a black neighborhood.
Thomas Tryon, the columnist, summed up the challenges of being city manager in a place like Sarasota. The city has "a unique political culture, one that produces endless controversies over issues big and small and makes consensus building difficult."
Tom Barwin should feel right at home.