On filling the Selma City Council’s pro-tem seat

Published 9:26 pm Monday, April 26, 2010

Very soon the Selma City Council will have to decide upon a replacement for council President Cecil Williamson’s vacated president pro-tem position. In accordance with the law, Williamson, now council president due to the death of Dr. Geraldine Allen, was elected to the pro-tem position by his peers on the council. Now the council has the responsibility to elect a new council president pro-tem.

Running the city is akin to running a business, and just like any business longevity is not the lone deciding factor as to who should be given a position of increased authority and responsibility. Such has to be earned through one’s ability to communicate and work with others in a proactive manner and their actions.

Last week, Councilman Sam Randolph of Ward 5 made an impassioned speech for the council to elect Ward 7 Councilwoman Bennie Ruth Crenshaw to the position. Randolph said she has more experience on the council than anyone else and has served a longer term than anyone else.

Email newsletter signup

These things are true. She has completed much work in the National League of Cities and is a Leadership Training Council member for the NLC.

But experience and leadership on paper do not stand the ultimate test.

Crenshaw has not worked in unity with the city council. She would not attend a photograph session when the council had its official photos made. She refused to be sworn in with fellow council members, another sign that she is not interested in working cooperatively with this council. She frequently leaves meetings before they are completed. She refused her committee appointments and does not attend the meetings of those committees.

During council meetings, Crenshaw is abrasive and disruptive much of the time. She often usurps the council’s own rules, rules that she is bound to uphold as an elected member of the council, and in many cases she does not follow parliamentary procedure as any elected official is required to do.

Instead, she only wants to do what she wants to do, when she wants to do it and how she wants to do it, without regard for rules, regulations or common courtesy.

That is not the leadership needed in the stead of the council president.

If Crenshaw would step up and show the leadership potential she has through these years of experience and training and earn consideration for such a position, perhaps her peers would honor her with their vote for president pro-tem, just as they honored Williamson at the beginning of this council term.

But as it stands, the councilwoman has far too many checks on the debit side of the ledger, thus the council should opt for someone else for this position.