Explanation on city council absences

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 23, 2006

To the citizens of Selma:

Council President, George Evans, allowed Councilman Cecil Williamson to place three items on the agenda that called for the termination of several city department heads and the abolishment of the newly-formed Community Outreach Department.

The agenda was circulated to several members of the media including WHBB, The Selma Times-Journal, Channel 8, and many more; all city council members; mayor; and city personnel on Friday. This insulting agenda was allowed to circulate over the entire weekend.

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Needless to say, it created quite a stir within city hall and upset many affected employees.

The mayor used most of his day assuring employees that this politically motivated act had no substance and would not fly. But imagine if it were your job being targeted for termination five days before Christmas.

Mr. Evans knew that the city council did not have the authority to terminate employees. Yet, he under his authority published the agenda that he controls stating the city council has the authority and intentions to discuss and possibly terminate several employees one week before Christmas.

Mr. Evans keeps saying that he does not have the authority to control the agenda. But controlling the city council meeting agenda and chairing the city council meeting are his only responsibilities. He seems to be more interested in trying to do the mayor’s job and this is a clear example where he cannot effectively do the only two things he is supposed to be doing.

So I question, since he claims that he does not control the agenda, how could he replace the bad agenda announcing the termination of employees with a corrected agenda just before the city council meeting on Monday?

That’s right, just before the city council meeting, he replaced the bogus agenda with a corrected agenda that did not have those bogus and politically motivated items. It seems to me that if he had the authority to change the dirty agenda just before the meeting, he had the authority to stop Councilman Williamson from creating that confusion in the first place.

My colleagues Jean Martin, Jannie Venter, Johnnie Leashore, Samuel Randolph and I chose not to allow Mr. Evans and Mr. Williamson to pull us into a messy discussion about firing city employees that we, as city council, have no jurisdiction to fire in the first place.

Instead, we chose to sign a letter to the targeted employees stating that we were opposed to this outrageous and indecent act. We further chose to deal with them and that bogus agenda after the Christmas season.

As fate would have it, we had a viable option and we took it. We chose to do something that was city sponsored and positive with our children instead. Councilman Randolph had to work and we all knew that to be the case. This time of year, he is a real local Santa.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Bennie Ruth Crenshaw

City Council, Ward 7