Better communication skills needed

Published 2:30 am Sunday, August 30, 2009

The recent exchange between Selma Council member Angela Benjamin and city Planning and Development Director Charlotte Griffeth raises a series of questions.

Benjamin, the council’s Planning and Development Committee chairperson, asked some questions about the functions of the Planning and Development Department regarding neighborhoods.

Mayor George Evans attempted to answer some of the questions, then turned the floor over to Griffeth, who raised Benjamin’s ire by telling the councilperson she had not contacted Griffeth.

This lit a fire under Benjamin and the two talked over each other for a few minutes until Benjamin raised questions about a grant she wanted written, but didn’t realize the department had not worked on it until the day before the grant was due.

Evans’ point about the department having only two people is well-taken. He says nobody in the department is a full-time grant writer. This also is understandable.

Benjamin has a good point.

These are questions asked by council members at various times:

Who in the city is responsible for development of communities in each ward? Specifically, what projects in this city have money behind them? What projects are on the drawing board waiting for money? What does the Downtown Association do? How does it function?

The questions are answered, but not elaborated upon. Perhaps everyone would feel better — the council more informed and Griffeth less put upon — if the communication gate opened up from community development a little more.