Brown will offer leadership and vision, Holloway should be re-elected

Published 5:00 am Sunday, April 29, 2012

Residents of the City of Natchez will go to the polls Tuesday to select the Democratic nominee for the position of Natchez mayor.

The winner will face Republican and independent challengers in June’s general election.

Natchez mayor is a position akin to the CEO of the city. The position is weak politically, since the mayor can do little without the consent of the Board of Aldermen.

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Despite the weak title, the mayor has an important role as he effectively runs the daily operations of the city, serves as the executive officer over the city’s various department head positions and is the city’s public face.

None of the options facing voters is the perfect one.

After much study, consideration and one-on-one meetings, we endorse Larry L. “Butch” Brown in Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

While Brown’s followers tout his past performance in bringing money and projects to Natchez, we recognize the world and Natchez — even Brown personally — have changed since he last occupied the mayor’s office.

But what we are banking on is that Brown has an ability to lead teams of diverse people.

Natchez has lacked that in recent years, and it has hurt us. The city seems more divided today — by race, economics and petty politics — than it has in years.

Brown’s style can be heavy-handed at times, but perhaps Natchez needs some tough love for a time period. We certainly need more leadership and vision.

In the other citywide race, we believe Donnie Holloway should be returned to office of Natchez City Clerk.

Clearly, personnel and technological issues in the office cause information to trickle out at far too slow a pace, and that must end.

But despite what political opponents say, none of the accounting glitches seem intentional, and Holloway seems to have owned up to all and corrected them.

Once the election is over, however, we believe the city would be wise to go through the process necessary to convert from an elected city clerk to an appointed one.

Then city leaders can clearly outline job requirements so the city’s financial wing isn’t just run by the person deemed “most popular.”

This year’s races for mayor and city clerk have been difficult ones, as candidates and supporters have made the politics hurtful and personal.

That’s a shame, because ultimately, what we all should want is what’s best for the city. Getting that shouldn’t involve ruining friendships and burning bridges to get there.

Regardless of whom we believe should be selected in Tuesday’s primary, please get out and exercise your right to vote. Natchez depends on you to help guide its future.