‘Friendly rivals’ can net greater benefits

by Chelle Delaney: Quay County Sun

When Terry Turner died on Aug. 30 he left Quay County without a manager.

When Richard Primrose took the county manager post, he left Tucumcari without a city manager.

He doesn’t make the move until March 1, but the City Commission hasn’t hired a new city manager yet, either.
You could say that the county stole the city’s manager. But Primrose is moving from city manager to county manager in our county. Tucumcari is, after all, the county seat of Quay County.

The city didn’t lose a leader; Tucumcari and other towns in the county gained a leader. And Tucumcari will have a county manager who is very familiar with the city. That could give the city a little boost.

Thinking of Quay County as being a competitor to Tucumcari is kind of like thinking that Quay County is competing with the State of New Mexico.

Having Primrose fill the role of Quay County Manager could also be considered a symbolic lesson.

It’s a lesson that Jack Schultz is teaching in his book: Boomtown USA: The 7 1/2 Keys to Big Success in Small Towns.

Instead of fighting for a piece of the pie, Schultz writes: “The trick is to expand the size of the pie. Everybody wins when the pie becomes larger; everyone has a chance for a bigger piece.”

Schultz writes that he learned about the idea of competitors adopting cooperative strategies from the Nash equilibrium theory, a piece of thinking that won the 1994 Nobel prize for mathematician John F. Nash.

Schultz and Nash are saying that cooperation between “friendly rivals” within a town can result in greater benefits for all town residents.

Tucumcari is our business; Quay County is our business.
So, what can the people who make up Tucumcari and Quay County do to make it their business that Tucumcari and Quay County grow?

If America’s small towns don’t do anything, Schultz says, they may die.

Right now is a time of opportunity for small towns. In the past, people moved from the country into the city. After WW II, they moved to the suburbs. Now people seem to be recognizing the virtues of small towns.

And small towns are recognizing that they shouldn’t sit still, reminiscing about the past.

The city’s landed the MainStreet program and other efforts are being made to bring in new businesses.

But, have we involved everybody? Have we involved the other small towns in the rest of the county? The MainStreet program is focused on downtown. That’s a good thing, but shouldn’t our city and our county be working to learn what we can do to make our total pie grow bigger and bigger?
Under “Leveraging Your Resources,” Schultz talks about “town-to-town networking” and small towns that partner together to win-win.

Schultz also talks about towns winning by changing their appearance. Think of Santa Fe, the adobe town.

We can find many strategies in Schultz’ book for making the pie bigger, but Schultz doesn’t provide a road map.
Tucumcari and Quay County have to figure out what to do and how to do it.

The move of Primrose from city manager to county manager is an appropriate reason to think about Schultz’ Chapter 6, Key # 4: Raise Up Strong Leaders.

Note that Schultz says, “Strong Leaders,” plural. Tucumcari and Quay County need strong leaders, plural.

But all of Tucumcari and Quay County need to agree on where these strong leaders should lead us.

The city has had an interesting past. Born by the railroad track. Growing (and getting our kicks) on Route 66. Mourning the loss of Route 66.

And somehow surviving and planning what to do next.
But we don’t seem to have any organization, foundation, association, or any kind of group, that is an open forum dedicated to growing a bigger pie for Tucumcari and Quay County.

Most all agree that it’s important to have more people visit, more people to come and stay, and new businesses to help bring those people here. To grow a bigger pie.

Doesn’t it make sense to start talking about how Tucumcari and Quay County and all the towns in the county could work together, to become a better area, even a “Big Success,” and, perhaps even, “Boomtown USA”?
Chelle Delaney is associate publisher for the Quay County Sun. Contact her at 461-1952 or by e-mail:
chelle_delaney@link.freedom.com