Stop the council dog-and-pony show

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 9, 2002

Normally, editorials are written two days after an event happens. The purpose is to allow readers to form an opinion before we offer ours.

In light of the antics at Selma’s City Council meeting Monday night, and because so few citizens attended, we will sway from that trend.

The council and Mayor James Perkins Jr. need to find a way to work together. That’s a very simple statement to make, but it’s one we would like to explain — and even offer solutions for.

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Monday’s council meeting erupted into a verbal war between Council President George Evans and Mayor Perkins. Those in attendance, including formal Council President Carl Morgan Jr., were exasperated with the immature actions of those in city government who acted like children.

Monday’s biggest disagreement between council and the mayor came after Perkins wrote a resolution that recommended two financial companies take control of the city’s long-term debt. Because interest rates are so low right now, Perkins said it was best for the city to move on the issue.

Evans didn’t like Perkins thrusting something on the council. It wasn’t so much the banks as it was the precedent Perkins might have set by shoving something on the council and asking them to pass it on the spur of the moment.

However, Evans did not handle himself well. Neither did Perkins. In the end, the citizens of this city were the biggest losers.

Evans is charged with keeping control over council meetings. He cannot allow comments by the mayor, or any other council member, to agitate him to the point of shouting. The only time Evans should shout is when someone in the audience is unruly and needs to be quieted. Never should that person be the council president himself.

Along the same lines, Perkins must not agitate council members. He said after the meeting that he never intended to do so. It was obvious he did, and just as Perkins is easily offended when council members threaten his power, he too must realize that council members are offended when he threatens their power.

Meanwhile, there are other members on the council who make disparaging remarks just to irritate other council members. Those immature remarks have no place in city government.

After all the hubbub among the council and mayor, nothing was resolved concerning the financial companies bargaining to help re-finance the city’s long-term debt.

In other words, the mayor and council president fought a meaningless fight that resulted in nothing good for themselves or for the citizens of this city.

Perkins and Evans must learn to communicate. If they don’t, they will continue in the dog-and-pony show they performed Monday night, and citizens will elect them out of office in due time.