News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 13, 2005
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EDITORIAL

Lack of communication by councilmen inexcusable

Decatur is fortunate to have several successful businessmen on its City Council. They have busy schedules, but they bring valuable management skills and experience to the administration of the city's business.

Monday evening's work session, however, where councilmen were scheduled to discuss the city's future ambulance service needs but failed to get a majority to attend, is inexcusable.

Fire Chief Charlie Johnson, Dr. Larry Sullivan, chairman of the Decatur Emergency Medical Services Committee, and other emergency services workers were present to explain current operations and discuss whether the city needs new or additional ambulance service.

Unfortunately, Ronnie Russell and Gary Hammon were the only two councilmen to attend. Without a majority present, Johnson, Sullivan and the others were sent home with an apology after waiting 30 minutes.

That a majority could not be present is unfortunate but understandable considering the councilmen's schedules. There are going to be occasions when all five, or even three of the five, cannot get together.

What is inexcusable that the councilmen did not extend the courtesy of informing the others of their inability to attend.

Council President Billy Jackson and Councilman Ray Metzger were able to attend an agenda work session later Monday evening. Mr. Jackson said he had another meeting at the time of the emergency services work session, but would have attended had he known of the lack of a quorum.

Mr. Metzger said he forgot to check the messages on his phone.

Councilman David Bolding, who did not attend either work session, could not be reached after the meetings.

Mr. Jackson has tried to hold work sessions on Mondays to reduce confusion about scheduling. The meeting was scheduled at least a week in advance.

A simple telephone call from those unable to attend, taking less than a minute, would have saved the day.

It is the least they would have done if they were unable to attend a meeting of their personal businesses.

CORRECTION

An editorial in Wednesday's edition said Decatur city councilmen who were unable to attend a work session with emergency responders should have informed their colleagues beforehand.

Council President Pro Tem Ronny Russell said Council President Billy Jackson told him that he would be late. Councilman David Bolding also notified council members beforehand that he could not attend. Only Councilman Ray Metzger, who didn't receive the message about the meeting, did not notify the council.

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