Thursday, April 4, 2013

Observing Small town Politics

          I attend almost every Monticello City Council meetings--and stay from gavel to gavel. It's something I pledged to do as a leader of Main Street Monticello. I believe it will establish in the mind of the councilors my dedication to the goals of Main Street Monticello and show my respect for their work for the 2506 citizens of our beautiful little city.
          Many people come before Council, ask for what they need and then promptly leave the room. Even the newspaper reporter doesn't always stay for the entire proceedings. This seems a little slighting to the councilors to me. They work hard and give a lot of time and effort to do our business and my full attention is a small thing I feel obligated to give. It seems to me they appreciate my occasional comment on a matter they are discussing.
          The Monticello City Council is impressive to anyone who sits through a complete meeting in that it moves through its agenda smoothly, pushing to complete the people's business quickly and carefully. There is little debate and what there is is respectful. I see no animosity and no bickering. Surely they disagree, but no debate ever seems personal. The contrast between the Monticello City Council and the Jefferson County Commission is truly staggering.
          I don't always attend Jefferson County Commission meetings, but when I do I still follow my policy of showing my respect for the commissioners and their office by staying throughout the meeting and occasionally commenting on matters under discussion. Most of the people who come to the meetings to make a point or ask for something wait until their matter is on the floor, comment if necessary, then get up and leave. A few people stay throughout the meeting, but most of the people who stay are county employees.
        The proceedings of our Commission are shockingly slow, scattered and inefficient. Several Commissioners blatantly display disrespect and disdain for each other, falling into tone of voice and expression displaying nothing short of hatred.
          I tell myself that surely friends of these Commissioners will talk to them and remind them of their responsibility to put the people's business first, respecting each other's differences without displaying their animosity publicly. It's embarrassing. the Commissioners also spend most of their time discussing this and that with the County Coordinator who seems to have become the "Jefferson County Road Commissioner."
         The only thing I see to do is recruit candidates to replace these two Commissioners--candidates who can disagree without becoming so blatantly angry and disrespectful of
the people of Jefferson County, rally behind them to elect replacement commissioners who can put their responsibilities above their personal feelings.