Our opinion: City Council and Mayor squabbles continue, are a distraction from the work that needs to be done in the City

Published 8:38 am Thursday, August 18, 2022

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The ongoing power struggle between Selma Mayor James Perkins, Jr. and the Selma City Council over who should have the authority to do just about anything continues to distract from the work that truly needs to be done to improve our city.

Perkins held a press conference Monday where he fired yet another salvo at the City Council, citing several contracts he said were flawed in their creation or had been breached by vendors, thereby disqualifying them to be paid.

During the roughly 30-minute press conference, if you want to call it that as the Mayor did not take any questions when it concluded, Perkins said he tried to work with the council to resolve the issues, but the council refused to take the responsibility of any repercussions that would come from paying the vendors, which include Snow’s Cleaning Service, Edmundite Missions, NPG, LLC, and David Blackmon.

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While we do not dispute Perkins’ main point, that contracts should abide by state laws and be transparent in their creation, our issue comes from the constant bickering and back and forth between Perkins and the Council.

So who’s at fault, and why? While trying to answer that question, it’s important to remember Perkins had the same track record with an almost entirely different city council during his prior administrations. We vividly recall those battles with Perkins even choosing not to attend city council meetings, which exasperated the already dysfunctional situation at that time between he and the council. The more things change…?

In Perkins’ defense, it’s hard to run a city, or any business for that matter, when many of the decisions you have to make are dictated to you by someone else – in this case, the majority of the city council.

The really frustrating, and sad, part of all this is there really are no winners, only losers. Who loses? We and you – the citizens, taxpayers, and those who visit us.

The power struggle that continues distracts from the jobs that need to be done. Streets remain in disrepair, unregulated clubs continue to create health and safety hazards and hamper downtown development, the Dallas Academy building sits vacant and unrepaired, and the list goes on.

Certainly there will be disagreements about how things should be handled – and who should handle them – but the public discourse from each side should be professional and at least show some level of unity.

The general public doesn’t care to see or hear the unsavory details of how things get done, only that our elected officials who have both the duty and responsibility follow the law, act compassionately, and put forth a unified front in representing their constituents. In other words, don’t show us “how the sausage is made,” just show us positive results – and present them in a respectful and unified manner.