Selma needs a city manager

Published 5:53 pm Monday, December 17, 2018

Dear Editor,

The mayor-council form of city government has proven to be ineffective for Selma.  Selma has the strong-mayor plan of city government.  Under this plan, the mayor takes the lead in carrying on the city’s business. 

Therefore, it is difficult for the mayor to blame the council or anyone else for weaknesses in the city’s government. 

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According to research, one possible disadvantage of the strong-mayor plan is that occasionally an inefficient mayor may misuse his powers.  As a result, some cities have given up the mayor-council form and have turned to other types of city government.
It would be beneficial for Selma to be governed by the city manager plan.  Under the city manager government, the voters elect a city council to act as the city’s lawmaking body. 

The council then hires a city manager, who enforces local laws, and runs the city much like a big business or corporation. 

The city manager is appointed, not elected.  Therefore, he or she does not take part in partisan politics.  A successful city manager has a competent and supportive city council.
The city government of Selma is incorporated by the state of Alabama. 

If the people of Selma wish to change their local government, they may ask the state legislature to allow them to do so.  The local legislative delegation needs to introduce a bill in the state legislature to change city government.
The focus of conversation in Selma is, “Who would be a good mayor?”  The city needs a specially trained and experienced city manager. 

The mayor’s race has become a popularity contest with low achievers as winners.  The citizens deserve progressive-minded leaders who welcome reform.  We cannot sit idly by and witness the deterioration of the “Queen City of the Black Belt.” 

A revolution at Selma’s City Hall is inevitable.  There is not any animosity towards someone, nor envy.  But, the voters in the city have miserably failed to elect a progressive mayor during the 21st Century.
Nonetheless, the citizens must act lawfully and accept responsibilities.  Economic development should be one of the city’s top priorities.  High employment leads to low poverty and low crime rate. 

People should have the initiative to work and remain employed to raise their standard of living. 

The two local public school systems are commended for their outstanding Career Technical Education (CTE) program.
Selma needs to be removed from the list as one of the nation’s worst cities to live.  Let’s change our mindset, reduce crimes, reform local government, entice industry, and clean up the environment.

Gerald Shirley

County Road 81