How many hats can you wear?

Friday, May 9, 2008

During the 1990s, Fred Hobbs was, simultaneously, mayor of Eagleville; the district's representative to the Tennessee House of Representatives; a member of the Rutherford County Board of Education, which elected him chairman of that panel; and for one year he was chairman of the board of the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce.

In retrospect it was a remarkable example of how many jobs one man can juggle at one time. One can't help but wonder exactly what his Monday morning to-do list must have looked like.

The example is offered now because at Lewisburg City Hall questions are being raised about how many people currently serve in what positions and whether the decision-making process ought to be more inclusive.

It's a reasonable question, one that has taken on additional weight since it arose during a discussion between members of the City Council and those from the local branch of the NAACP.

Without going into the city's current situation right here and right now, it might be worthwhile to examine situations such as Hobbs' and others'. Yet another example is in Marshall County government, and this example more closely fits the parameters questioned by NAACP branch President Gary Davis. No impropriety is being alleged. Davis insists he and others simply want equity at City Hall.

Marshall County Commission Chairwoman Mary Ann Neill was elected to that position after her predecessor, Sam Smith, resigned. She is, obviously, an elected county commissioner, but she's also a member of the county Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals.

Those three positions provided her with the prospective opportunity to have three votes on Waste Management Inc.'s request for permission to develop a landfill here. If it was to be built in Cornersville, the land needed rezoning, an issue that would become