Water Board needs slow, steady pace

Published 10:34 pm Thursday, October 23, 2008

Several questions come to mind as we watch Selma City Councilman Johnnie Leashore push so hard for a new appointee to the Selma Water and Sewer Board.

To bring you up to date: Leashore launched a salvo Thursday afternoon during the city council’s work session for the vote to take the item off the agenda nearly two weeks ago. Councilman Cecil Williamson of Ward 1 had asked the board to consider discussion on the issue at a time when he could attend. Two weeks ago, the council meeting occurred earlier than usual, and Williamson had to appear in court to represent a client.

The board voted 4-3 to table the matter.

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Again, Thursday afternoon, Leashore brought up the issue. Council President George Evans suggested the council might want to take applications and interview individuals for the post — a reasonable assumption, considering that on Tuesday this particular council will meet for the last time. The process suggested by Evans, who will take office as mayor, would allow the new council to set a precedent in the way it makes appointments to the Water Board or any other entity.

But this did not suit Leashore and he fired another shot. The meeting deteriorated and eventually Evans had to gavel the work session to a close.

Leashore’s insistence could lead one to believe that the councilman, who will not return to office after Nov. 1, wants that seat on the Water Board as an individual. There’s a position left vacant after the death of Aubry Vick.

Some people, including outgoing Councilwoman Jannie Venter of Ward 8, have suggested Millie Vick as the logical replacement for her late husband.

Although new council members have met in the upper room of a local restaurant to discuss informally some matters, none of them have publicly said what they would do to replace Aubrey Vick.

Councilwoman Bennie Ruth Crenshaw of Ward 7 will remain on the board because her term is not up. Another council seat remains in dispute and in the courts — that’s the one sought by Councilwoman Geraldine Allen, who’ll return as council president. However, Councilman Sam Randolph of Ward 5 contends that’s his seat, and he was duly appointed.

With all this posturing, it appears that some members of the Water Board would enjoy nothing more than to keep their voting majority. Chaos is the best way to ensure that this occurs.

Cronyism has lead already to a probe of the Water Board that resulted in the Auditor of Public Accounts opining that the board has paid its members too much money. Who knows what else has occurred?

Sunshine has not shown on the actions of the Water Board for some time. Indeed, its actions appear as murky as the effluent in a septic tank.

Evans’ advice is wise. The council should move slowly and deliberately on these appointments. Too much is at stake.