Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Board of Aldermen Stonewalls Raises Issue

I was on the Agenda of the Board of Aldermen tonight. I made a brief presentation about the raises being illegal, since I had already written them all letters, including the citations from the City Code. I ended by asking, "So am I right?" Dead silence. The Mayor asked the Aldermen if anyone wanted to say anything. Then Ricky Gray said he wasn't going to answer my question, but he had something to say when I was through. I said I was through. I have to paraphrase what he said, since I didn't have a recorder.

He was mad that I called him a "hypocrite" for voting to suspend the rules to allow the vote. (Someone's reading the blog, since that's the only place I've used that word.) He said there are numerous motions to suspend the rules, which he votes for without knowing why they've been made. (So I guess he votes for things he doesn't know anything about and somehow thinks that's better than being a hypocrite.) He said I should have brought the issue to the attention of the Mayor first. (I did, but he never answered me.) But then he went way over the line. He said the Library (where I work) has enough problems of its own and needs to get its own house in order before telling other people how to run their business. He gave examples, which I'm not going to dignify by repeating.

I said, very forcefully, that this has nothing to do with the Library. That I was here as a private citizen and the work was done on my own time. I sincerely hoped that no one on the Board would hold the Library responsible for anything that I did or said on my own time.

When Ricky finished, I asked the Mayor if I was going to get an answer to my question. He said he asked the Aldermen if they wanted to say anything, and no one did. I said that I guessed I wasn't going to get an answer - and that was very interesting! I then sat down and stayed for the rest of the meeting. It was a short meeting and not much happened. (Although I understand something big happened in the meeting before the meeting.)

After the meeting, I was on the sidewalk walking home, and Alderman David Massey passed me on his way to his car. I asked him, "Don't you think y'all should have answered my question?" Obviously very angry, he said, "Lady, you need to get a life. You have big problems." I just said "Whew!" as he slammed his car door.

Now I may not be a lawyer, but I am a psychologist. This is the behavior of guilty and defensive parties, and it is very obvious to me that the Board broke the law. If I had been wrong, they would have told me so - and probably taken great joy in making me look like an idiot. What possible reason could they have for not correcting me?

They could have admitted their mistake, said they didn't realize it at the time, apologized to the citizens of the City, and then done it the right way. I think most people would have been so impressed with that response that they wouldn't even have objected to the raises. I know I wouldn't have objected. I was more upset with the process than I was with the raise itself. But of course, this type of rational response is not in the personality make up of this Board.

Tell me again - when is the next election?


natchezcrabbe said...

Yhe Natchez Board of Aldermen know they made a mistake, but I don't think they know how much the tax payers in Natchez resented the raise they gave themselves. Just like the national congress they want a bigger and bigger piece of the pie for themselves.
I wonder what kind of automobiles they drive. A trip down any street in Natchez is like doing a slalom. Even when a road is repaired the city workers are digging it up the next day. This is an example of the foresight and planning our city fathers use, so of course they felt they needed more money.

natchezblues said...

Casey, You have definitely struck a nerve and I wonder if they are even aware of the rules and aware that they were not following them. Was the city attorney present? If so, why couldn't he answer your question? Ricky Gray completely crossed the line by mentioning your place of work and then Massey telling you to get a life, would they have said the same thing to a man, I have to wonder. They are reacting like naughty spoiled children with these immature attacks on your character. It really shows them in their true light. Their salaries are higher than most residents here and this is not their real job. It should be almost like a volunteer position that one undertakes for the love and concern of their city and of the people, but it has become a self-grandizing imperialistic institution at the expense of the citizens of Natchez. They should all be ashamed of themselves, I know I am ashamed for them.

chickinqueen said...

You are a brave lady. I hope they don't mess with your job........say on!