Smith: Selma’s city leaders can do much better

Published 6:13 pm Friday, November 3, 2017

Thomas Jefferson, one of the founding fathers of our nation and the 3rd President, once said, “The government you elect is the government you deserve.”

Based on that declaration, I suppose Selma has what it deserves. Like it or not, we are all subjected to the decisions made at the ballot box. It has been a very rocky start to the present administration to say the least. Where do you place the blame? It might be unfair to place it all at the feet of the mayor, however he is the chief executive of the city. Each ward within the city has an elected representative making up the city council. As I understand it, the council has certain responsibilities to fulfill as does the mayor, and the two should cooperate and work together whenever possible.

Based on that premise and what we are receiving, it makes Will Rogers statement about government more truth than jest. He said, “Be thankful we’re not getting all the government we’re paying for.” As a reminder, there are no Republicans involved to place the blame on for the ills of the city. It would seem our city elected officials would make an effort at coming to a consensus for the good of the city. Perhaps they should consider taking a refresher course in conflict resolution or playground etiquette.

The really good managers know how to achieve their priorities with the support of those around them.

The mayor and city council have a responsibility to be good stewards of the taxpayer’s money, provide essential services, and solve problems arising from the day to day operations of a city. Really, that is all that is being asked of them.

The fate of the city treasurer seems to be the subject of much debate and consternation by a divided council and the mayor. The mayor fired the treasurer and a majority of the council voted to reinstate.

The position is now in limbo. A forensic audit was started and then stopped. Some want it to continue, and some want it to stop. This type behavior is very frustrating to the citizens. If there is the least suspicion of public monies not being dispersed properly or whatever, why not let the audit proceed to clear the air? If there is a problem, it will be detected, if not, then the issue is settled. There is no need for everything to present a crisis at city hall.

The city has a full time lawyer on hand to answer any and all questions on the scope and authority of the mayor and the council.

Under the present situation, the taxpayers of Selma are not being very well served in my opinion. Selma needs to get with the program and solve some of the issue before it like abject poverty, more sworn police officers working the streets, trash and garbage pickup, reducing the crime rate and infrastructure improvements to name a few.

Safety conditions are bad when churches have to hire security for their services. Selma can do better, but will we?