We can do better than secret sessions
Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 14, 2002
The Selma Water Works board was discussed at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. That wouldn’t be news to report if the board was on the meeting’s pre-printed agenda and everything was OK at the water works.
Normally we might be talking about water rates or repairs, but the discussion focused squarely on what water board members are being paid. The state ethics commission is concerned that the salaries paid to board members may have exceeded
that allowed by state law and has referred the matter to the attorney general.
Councilman Sam Randolph brought the issue up Tuesday night. He led a spirited discussion of the situation. Randolph even went as far as to suggest the board be &uot;abolished.&uot;
That is a very strong statement to make at this juncture. The attorney general has only agreed to look at the matter. There has been no ruling, conviction or even a charge.
That said, all citizens should be concerned that the ethics commission referred the matter to the attorney general. This is a situation that has the potential to turn out bad for Selma.
Citizens should also be concerned that City Council went into executive session to discuss the situation last night. Councilman B.L. Tucker objected to an executive session (secret session) meeting. He correctly stated that the citizens had a right to know what is happening.
The water board discussion that took place last night was not what we need. We don’t need to call for resignations until we hear what the attorney general says. It is premature to jump to conclusions right now.
The council should not be leading the city into controversy, it should be acting to avoid needless controversies that only serve to divide and alienate our citizens and our appointed leaders.
And if the water board is going to be discussed at City Council, let’s get it on the pre-printed agenda. Then let’s discuss it in a public forum where all can hear.
Last night’s antics were not representative government at its best.
We can do better.