Columnist: Government by chip on the shoulder

Friday, February 5, 2010

Lewisburg City Council's vote to abolish the Police Advisory Board has really stirred up a myriad of feelings around town since the 3-2 vote on Jan. 26.

In a letter to the editor members of the PAB stated "some councilmen had no comment on why they'd eliminate the board," the letter asked "residents to demand accountability from the Council."

I agree with their statement in that letter: "Government by whim smacks of backroom deals and petty power politics."

Mayor Barbara Woods "traced the Council split on this issue back to when the Police Advisory Board questioned the city manager for not hiring their recommended candidate for a police patrolman's job" if her views were correct.

Councilman Quinn Brandon Stewart said during the meeting she didn't know who called it or why it started at 3 p.m., but she couldn't help but think that it's to keep the public from knowing. This writer agrees wholeheartedly with Mrs. Stewart, one of two who voted for the PAB.

The other councilman who voted for the board, Ronald McRady, said "he's seen nothing but positive things from the board." He also accused the other three councilmen of violating the state's Sunshine Law by "coordinating votes between themselves before a meeting."

It all boils down to micro-management versus macro-management. I work for a Fortune 500 company in the Cool Springs area and my company is governed by a board of directors. They choose macro-management because they do not have time to dot every I and cross every T where the company is concerned. They delegate authority. This company would probably cease to exist if they micro-managed every little issue confronting the company. The same principle should apply to the Lewisburg City Council. Its members should step back and not interfere in every minute detail of city government. That is why they have a city manager and apparently he is taking early retirement at age 62. I do not blame him. I think he has done an excellent job with what he's had to work with.

This writer does not understand why they disbanded the PAB and not the water board and the Lewisburg Electric Board. It is the same principle. They serve to help their respective superintendents just like the Police Advisory Board did the police chief. No wonder the current police chief may, according to recent reports, run for Sheriff. After a vote like this one, I cannot say I blame him.