Supporting our mayor

Published 6:37 pm Monday, October 29, 2018

Dear Editor,

I write this letter to the editor of this newspaper in support of Selma’s Mayor, the Honorable Darrio Melton. I sincerely believe that Mayor Melton is doing as well as he possibly can do under the circumstances to help Selma address its myriad of problems and move forward into the 21st Century. Many of the problems Mayor Melton faces in city government were inherited. Has Mayor Melton done everything right during his inaugural administration? My opinion is no. Could Mayor Melton have approached some issues or situations differently? My opinion is most certainly. Should Mayor Melton have done more to win over the affection, respect and admiration of council members? The answer is obviously yes in my opinion.

I believe Mayor Melton has learned from his experiences these past two years and is, therefore, better qualified today to perform his duties as Selma’s mayor. Having said that, I perceive that there are some fundamental flaws or misunderstanding among certain council members regarding the delineation of roles in the governance of city hall.

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Good leadership demands that our leaders understand what they control as well as what they do not control. When I attended council meetings it is almost laughable at times when I hear accusations and blame that some council members attempt to attribute to the mayor, which falls squarely within their purview and areas of responsibility.

In such case, what I perceive is a lack of basic understanding of government on their part.

The roles of each branch of government are very clear, but the Selma City Council tends to overstep its role as the legislative branch to micromanaging the day to day operation of city hall, which is a function of the executive branch (the Mayor’s office). The mayor is not an employee of the city council.

Both the mayor and council are elected officials by the people of Selma. The council and mayor are both responsible to the people of Selma and have different functions in city government.

When one branch of government does not function as intended or does not work effectively with other branches the result is chaos.

By all means, there should always be a high ethical standard of conduct when our elected officials conduct business. Name calling and disparaging remarks made about one another or anyone else are most inappropriate and have no place in a public forum.

Mayor Melton can be applauded for his leadership during this time of financial crisis in city government. He continues to make tough and unpopular decisions despite vast criticism. He has remained steadfast in his convictions and has not wavered in his efforts to keep the city from drowning in debt.

The mayor has brought the issue of the need for the new and additional revenue to the council on numerous occasions to no avail.

Consequently, after many attempts and requests for new revenue, the mayor had no recourse but to recommend a citywide layoff of employees.

The mayor was very concerned about employees’ welfare and well-being but was also cognizant of his moral, legal and statutory responsibilities as mayor, which precluded him from working people without pay.

What I have observed about Mayor Melton is that he is decent, bright, hardworking and scholarly.

He is a good steward and is very scrupulous with city finances.
He is a devout Christian and a devoted father, husband, brother, son and grandson. I believe Selma should get behind this Mayor and support him and not be so quick to criticize and find fault.

Thanking you in advance for your support.


James E. Ware