Thursday, June 30, 2011
Letters To The Editor
With the departure of Chief of Police Pearson, Holly Springs and Marshall County have lost one of the few competent department heads in local government. The chief and I were both in a Leadership Marshall class and had many discussions on various topics ranging from race relations to politics.
We both were in Vietnam and I worked briefly with a city police department while attending my first college. I visited him in his new office and was impressed by the awards and jobs he has held over the years, including his time in Bosnia with the UN.
I have always wondered why the mayor and aldermen of the city of Holly Springs and the county board of supervisors did not cooperate more closely on matters of mutual interest.
The supervisors are from various backgrounds as are the aldermen. There is a roofer, an air conditioning contractor, a successful farmer and two educators.
As a “board watcher” for the last six years, I have followed the efforts of the supervisors to maintain a low tax rate and at the same time provide the services necessary to make the county a great place to live. When a problem is discovered, instead of playing the “blame game,” they go to work to solve it.
I have seen them vent over some matter out of their control that seems to be working against them. But at the end of the day, they are back on track and doing the county’s business.
I am holding my breath until the next election is over as there are individuals running that could change the make-up of the board in other than a positive way. As one of the county officials said: “there are only two ways to run: unopposed or scared.”
On the other hand, I only know two of the aldermen, both of whom I consider competent business people who try to so what is best. It seems the mayor and the aldermen need to take a refresher on Public Administration 101.
While state laws give the mayor the authority to take certain actions, they are basically enabling acts to allow things to be accomplished, but do not make him another “King Willie.”
The mayor is CEO and responsible for running the city. But, he should be in charge of strategy and his aldermen should be the staff advisors who do the leg work and present him with choices in how best to get things done.
Micromanagement is not part of the job. It is why the chief left and why others just give up and do whatever the mayor says. One of the basic laws of management is that you can delegate authority but not responsibility. No matter who makes the mistake, the mayor is ultimately responsible. Maybe that’s why he doesn’t trust any of the others in high level jobs to make their own decisions.
The real problem with elected government in Marshall County and Mississippi in general is twofold.
First, there is a serious lack of available, competent individuals from which to chose those who will run the governmental offices. And those who are qualified don’t want the trouble and expense of running for office.
Second, and far more important, there are no minimum requirements that a candidate seeking a position must meet. A Justice Court judge who can fine or sentence those before him to jail time should at least be a trial attorney. The tax officials should be CPAs or at least have many years of work experience in handling books and money on a large scale. The school system should be in the hands of a board that is composed of people with an educational background and who have children or grand-children in the public schools. The superintendent should be a professional hired by the board on a contract and not elected from the general population.
Until we find a way to make major changes in the way we do public business, Marshall County will always be close to the top of the “bad things” list and 82nd, or close to it on the list of “good things.”
I wish I had the answers instead of just more questions. My wife and I live here because we want to and love it here. I will continue to do what I can to help my neighbors and fellow citizens and support those officials who are doing a good job.
Two fine people
Having been inspired by the letter published in the newspaper on Thursday, June 23, about the wonderful Frances Underwood, I, too, want to share enthusiasm about two other wonderful professionals, who happen to work at ICS Headstart. Thanks to the kind help of Erma Rogers, I have had the opportunity of observing two skilled professionals, Karen Wilson and Yvonne Willis.
These two fine people, in the midst of the hot summer, sometimes apparently missing their lunch by working right through long hours beyond the call of duty, are providing a fun-filled and (more importantly) a rich and highly structured program of education for the lucky students in their classes.
I believe that the ICS Headstart agency is a great resource for Holly Springs, and it reaches out to a vast segment of North Mississippi.
Norman Chapman, Ph.D.
Too much waste
I read an interesting, as well as educational, piece by syndicated columnist Bill Crawford, and I asked for and got permission to quote him.
Bill says in 1956 we assured the importance of and made our official motto “In God we Trust.”
Not government, not politicians, but God.
He goes on to say there have been some hypocritical rantings about the national debt.
Here are a few facts, if you will, (and I am sure my son Norm will Google, etc., other facts and check this.)
In 1981 the national debt was still less than $1 trillion.
Under Reagan it tripled to nearly $3 trillion.
Under Bush #1(daddy) it topped $4 trillion.
Under Bill Clinton it hit $5.7 trillion.
George (W.) brought the debt up to more than $10 trillion.
Under Obama it has reached $14.3 trillion.
All of the above are guilty, but some people are acting as if it is a new problem and all Obama’s fault. At least he followed through on one of his campaign promises. He said he would get bin Laden. It seems like Bush gave up on it. Where were McConnell and John Boehner during the reign of George W.?
Those were Bill Crawford’s thoughts. Now mine are this. I certainly agree with the politicans who say we must cut spending.
There’s absolutely too much waste and far too many people who have forgotten the words of JFK when he asked us to please remember – “Ask not what my country can do for me but what can I do for my country.”
Freedom in action
On Saturday evening, July 18, Sweetwater Farms Landowners Association held a meeting giving all current political candidates an opportunity to meet and speak to the public.
The meeting was held at the Barton Volunteer Fire Station with over 120 people getting involved in their government. Twenty -eight candidates spoke for about five to six minutes, each giving their bio and reasons for seeking election to their selected office.
The process was American freedom in action with the people taking part by seeking to learn more about the person(s) asking for their vote. This is the first such meeting to be sponsored by Sweetwater Farms Landowners Association and, based on its success, there will be more in the future.
I want to thank those who helped organize and get the word out and to give a big thank you to the Barton Volunteer Fire Department for allowing us to meet at their facility and for their service to the community. Fire chief Jerry “Buck” Culver reported that the people in attendance donated about $500 to the department.
See you at the polls on August 2.
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