Questioning of finances is a good thing

Published 12:05am Thursday, May 15, 2014

Natchez Alderman Dan Dillard can rub some people the wrong way. As a result, Dillard is one of the lightning rods on the Natchez Board of Aldermen.

Dillard, it seems, is one of the few elected officials who is not afraid to stand his ground and insist on logical answers from the government in which he’s a player.

In Tuesday’s board of aldermen meeting, Dillard seemed to be picking a fight with the city’s senior staff accountant, Angela Penfield.

Dillard’s primary concern was to find the cause of a $333,000-expenditure from an account funded by proceeds from the city’s lease with Magnolia Bluffs Casino.

After a bit of back and forth, Mayor Butch Brown stepped in and stopped the altercation suggesting the arguing wasn’t appropriate and that the issue could be discussed privately.

We think that was a mistake.

While we never want to see public officials squabbling among themselves, the matter at hand — where $333,000 in taxpayer money went — is worth a little arguing.

Dillard may annoy people with his questions and grate on some people’s nerves, but his demand for accountability in public finance matters seems on point and appreciated.