Make officials pay for behavior

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Should city council members be fined for being so disruptive that a meeting has to be adjourned?

That’s the question brought up at Monday night’s Selma City Council meeting by Council President George Evans.

Evans would like to put some teeth in the council’s rules and regulations by imposing a fine for those who consistently fail to obey rules and procedures.

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Because adults who serve on an elected government body should be expected to adhere to such rules this particular measure could be considered extreme.

However, the Selma City Council has been devoid of order in the past, which prompted Evans to try something to improve behavior.

Nothing hurts like being hit in the pocketbook.

The measure proposed by Evans could cost council members in more ways than one.

Those who consistently refuse to follow proper procedures would not only be fined $500 – cash or money order or they could have their paychecks withheld – they could also face impeachment.

Some may think the measure extreme.

But consider this: One council member could keep others from voting on a particular item simply by becoming so disruptive that the meeting has to be adjourned.

In doing so, that council member basically holds the council hostage in its ability to conduct the people’s business.

It is time council members were held accountable for their behavior. If it costs them money, so be it. Come November 2008, it could cost them their seat.