Aldermen should heed golden rule

Published 11:47 am Thursday, March 29, 2007

When some Natchez aldermen get back to the basics, they really get back to the basics, as in the Old Testament basics.

Tuesday’s aldermen meeting seemed to become a quick Bible study of sorts with Alderman James “Ricky” Gray performing the living testimony of the “eye for an eye, tooth for tooth” passage from Deuteronomy.

The subject of Gray’s tongue-lashing was Natchez Building Inspector Paul Dawes. Gray called for Dawes’ job for what Gray described as a series of department heads that have been “disrespecting elected officials.”

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Alderwoman Joyce Arceneaux-Mathis agreed with Gray.

Ironically, just a little more than a year ago, the board of alderman collectively was outraged when department heads complained publicly about later-to-be-ousted city planner Andrew L. Smith.

Mathis said at the time she was “appalled” that comments from one department head about another (Smith) appeared in the newspaper.

Mayor Phillip West, who later fired Smith, said last year, “Normally, personnel matters would not be made public.”

That’s why we were appalled by the overt criticism of Dawes in the middle of a public meeting. Further, Alderman Gray vowed at Tuesday’s meeting that he’d make a similar motion to remove Dawes at “every meeting here on out.”

Without specifics, calling for someone’s job publicly is a bit over the top and unfair.

Perhaps Gray and a few others on the board should skip a bit in their Bibles until they reach the New Testament, specifically a passage in the Gospel according to Mark:

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”