What should voters look for in a mayor?

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 16, 2004

FERRIDAY &045; The role of mayor in a town is important because that person is the leader, but there is no school people can attend to learn how to become an effective mayor.

However, there are many components former mayors, alderman and other mayors say are essential to making a good leader for a small town like Ferriday.

One of the main characteristics many cited was going out and looking for things for Ferriday.

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&uot;The mayor in and of himself is a person that has to go out and talk with the people, going other places,&uot; said alderman and former mayor Sammy Davis Jr. Davis. He said a mayor needs to look at other communities to find what could be good for Ferriday &045; and go get it.

&uot;I don’t think there is any question you need someone with connections and who has experience getting things done,&uot; Alderman Mitch Ashmore said.

Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copeland stressed the need to visit state legislators for needs.

In a small community, Copeland said, mayors have to work to get grants and projects finished.

Mayors have to &uot;continue to let (legislators) know what our problems are,&uot; Copeland said. &uot;The squeaky wheel is the one that gets greased the most.&uot;

Copeland said experience is a major ingredient for a mayor, from talking to legislators to knowing where to go to get things done.

But, he admits, there are &uot;still some things after 24 years (in town government) I don’t know.&uot;

That, Davis said, is where the leader of the town has to be willing to go out and learn new things to get the job done.

&uot;That is the only way it is going to happen,&uot; Davis said.

Cooperation is another major quality the mayor of Ferriday needs to have, especially when working with the five-person board of aldermen, officials said.

Davis said the mayor does not need to be someone who is going to &uot;throw rocks&uot; but work with the aldermen.

Ashmore said the mayor should not just try to please all the people all the time but should have a vision to convey to the people.

&uot;Of course, you are not going to agree all the time,&uot; Ashmore said. &uot;The big picture is what (the mayor) has to get across to the council. They just have to be on the same page.&uot;

Not only does Ashmore want a leader with vision, but with honesty and integrity and someone that will look &uot;at what is good for this town.&uot;

Ferriday mayor candidates Gene Allen and incumbent Glen McGlothin have their own ideas about what Ferriday needs in a leader.

&uot;Someone honest, with integrity and that treats people the same regardless of their station in life, which is what I strive to do,&uot; McGlothin said.

And, &uot;you’ve got to love the town you live in and you ought to live here.&uot;

Allen said Ferriday needs an aggressive leader that is for Ferriday, &uot;that has Ferriday at heart.&uot; And, Allen said, the mayor needs to go out and get programs, grants, jobs and money for Ferriday.