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FRIDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2005
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EDITORIAL

Point Mallard fiasco shows reckless council

Decatur needs a City Council that pays attention to the bottom line, but thus far the this one is careening around like a deaf and blind bull in a china shop.

The latest example came from Wednesday's revelation that the City Council cut jobs for Point Mallard without consulting with the Point Mallard Facilities Board.

The existence of the board is not accidental. Its members' duty is to understand the park's needs.

Board Chairman Paul McCain was understandably angry at the slight. "Why are we here? You never asked for our advice. We were bypassed 100 percent."

Whether the City Council and mayor understand how to run a city remains an open question. Whether they understand how Point Mallard is run, however, is a closed question.

They do not.

Its uninformed actions were not trivial. One of those actions, removing the Aquatic Center's lifeguard supervisor, could place swimmers at risk. Another, eliminating three Iceplex employees, made no sense from a timing standpoint. The council should have delayed that cut until after the facility's busiest season ends.

In cutting Point Mallard staff without first consulting the board, the council advertised to the city that its budget cuts are not well considered.

The mayor and City Council have a responsibility to their constituents to trim costs as much as possible, as they promised, but to do so without damaging the city.

Reckless cuts like those affecting Point Mallard leave constituents wondering whether those elected officials are up to the job, or if they are bent on radically changing the park.

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