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spirit-homes-defeatedOr is it?  Tonight Conway’s City Council voted 8-0 to cancel contract purchase negotiations for the Spirit Homes property.  Before the vote, the Council took time to inform the audience that a municipal swimming facility “is a real need,” although Spirit Homes is “probably not the right place to put it.”

This followed a committee meeting in which no Council member — and only one person from the audience — spoke in favor of purchasing Spirit Homes.

After the unanimous vote, the Council affirmed they would begin research on a municipal swimming facility immediately.  At the same time the Council also thanked Mayor Townsell for “shooting for the moon.”

The gushing praise for the Mayor seemed a little “put-on” but being he had just been dealt a major defeat, it’s understandable.

Back to the first statement, though:  “Or is it?”  There’s an old and trusted negotiating ploy to ask for more than you ever hope to get, which allows you to then “compromise” and end up with what you wanted.

Alfred asks for 200 somethings and Betsy says no way, so Alfred offers a compromise and says he will settle for 100 somethings.  The problem, of course, is there is no real compromise:  Alfred has no reason (except strategy) to ask for 200 somethings in the first place.  Betsey doesn’t stand to gain anything at all by allowing Alfred’s concession to 100 somethings.  If Betsey accepts the “compromise” what has actually happened is that Alfred ends up with 100 somethings (way more than he started with) and Betsey surrenders 100 somethings (while feeling lucky she got away with so little).

This whole convoluted example is to say it’s very possible the City Council didn’t want Spirit Homes in the first place, but advanced the project as the opening bid in a negotiation.

Almost everyone who spoke against Spirit Homes tonight also said Conway needs a municipal pool — “just not this one.”  Now the Mayor can bring forward just about any plan for a municipal pool, point to tonight’s comments, and claim he is compromising.

It’s hard to trust a City Council that will not voice their opinions in a committee meeting even after an audience member begged them to do so.  The City’s financial track record makes trusting the Mayor and Council even more difficult.  Remember, “trust everyone, but brand your cows” is good advice.  Accept nothing the Conway City Council says without justification.  You’ll be glad you did.