Aldermen ignored taxpayers

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 29, 2010

Three Natchez aldermen on Tuesday night showed their disregard for a key part of public service — informing the public before action is taken on its behalf.

In a 3-2 vote, Aldermen Joyce Arceneaux-Mathis, Dan Dillard and James “Ricky” Gray voted to replace a school board member whose term had expired.

The decision to take the vote was taken without prior notice given to the public and apparently little, if any, public acknowledgment that nominations were being sought.

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Because of their mysterious actions, long-time school board member Dr. Norris Edney was replaced with no chance for the public to voice input.

The merits of Edney’s replacement, Vidalia schoolteacher David Troutman, were not discussed, either.

The board of aldermen’s decision was simply brought up and abruptly voted on.

The matter was not on the agenda and the public was clearly not informed before the vote.

Citizens should have a chance to chime in on all key decisions the city makes.

Selecting one of the five people who lead our public school system is among the most important decisions aldermen make.

Such a decision is the municipal equivalent of a U.S. president nominating a justice to the U.S. Supreme Court. Yet, even presidential selections are vetted by the public and must be confirmed by the Senate, a process that has worked well for decades.

But three Natchez aldermen, apparently, think they know better than the more than 16,000 residents who live in the city.

We have nothing against Troutman, but we think the taxpayers deserve better from three stewards of the public good.