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We’ll take civility over unity, board

It won’t be necessary for the Natchez mayor and board of aldermen to hold hands in a circle and sing Kumbayah next week at their official swearing-in ceremony.

But we do hope their intended message of unity — which simply won’t be realistic on all things — does result in one thing — civility.

Natchez voters don’t expect, or even want, this board to always agree. If that begins occurring, it may be time to get suspicious.

Instead, we’ve elected six aldermen and one mayor to represent a wide variety of people — people who don’t always agree.

What we do want, however, is respect between one board member and the next. That means, no screaming matches, no personal attacks, no walking out of a public meeting and no lack of regard for the time of the man or woman next to you.

It’s not too much to ask, and it’s what taxpayers will demand.

Ultimately civility will be the responsibility of the mayor, the man with the gavel. When used appropriately, the gavel should calm raised tempers and stop verbal rabbit chases.

But starting on a unified front is step No. 1 to civility when times get tough. And times will get tough.

The new board deserves the full respect and appreciation of the community right now. Their behavior will determine whether or not that respect lingers beyond the swearing-in ceremony.

 

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