Constant controversy not helping Selma

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 15, 2003

Here we go again.

The Selma Water Works and Sewer Board can’t seem to stay out of controversy.

First, the Board got into trouble with the Alabama Ethics Commission over three of its members’ salaries. At issue is whether Board members were being overpaid according to state law. The case has now been in the hands of the state attorney general since November 2002.

The Board’s next black eye came just a few months ago, when the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) handed down a judgment stating the Board had discriminated against black employees. In the judgment, the EEOC made it known it would issue &uot;right to sue&uot; letters to those employees, allowing them to take legal action. The Board elected to fight the EEOC’s ruling.

Now, we’re getting conflicting reports about the Board’s testing of Selma’s drinking water (please see today’s front page story.) At the worst, Selma’s drinking water sites have not been regularly tested; at best, accounting of the testing sites has just been sloppy and Selma’s drinking water is just fine.

The disturbing aspect is that we really don’t know &045;&045; and therein lies the heart of the matter. The people of Selma deserve to know if their drinking water is safe. It’s a fundamental requirement of any city.

So here’s what we can do: Let’s get the mayor, members of the water board, professional water quality testers and anybody else within Selma city government to take a little field trip.

They’ll all go to a few diverse drinking water testing sites to observe how the testing is done and be educated on how the results are evaluated.

When the results are determined, the group will reconvene to discuss the findings in light of its now newfound knowledge on the matter.

This newspaper will do all it can to fairly and accurately present the findings. A collective review of our drinking water testing results and the standards by which they are evaluated will go far to allay any fears Selma residents may have regarding their drinking water.

Selma is represented by intelligent and well-meaning folks. Let’s put to rest this latest controversy and get on with making this wonderful city even better.