News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


City Hall having trouble doing business in public

Another red flag went up last week about how Decatur City Hall does business, and that should disturb citizens who think open government is the best government.

Mayor Don Kyle, who's complained about City Council secrecy before, hoisted the warning flag following a Thursday night meeting over whether to put a fire station at the site of the Pop Oliver Park in Southeast Decatur.

Council President Billy Jackson accused the mayor of vacillating on where to put the station and accused him of allowing the opposition to sway his opinion on the site.

"I wish the mayor would have come out earlier, rather than waiting to hear what the community has to say," Mr. Jackson said.

The mayor intimated that he wasn't in on the decision and that Mr. Jackson told him the fire station was a done deal. He said Mr. Jackson told him that the council decided to build the station in the park so there wasn't any need for him to seek an appraisal on adjoining property, which apparently is now an option.

The Pop Oliver ploy is not the first time the mayor said the council president left him out of discussions. Certainly, he could have taken part in discussions if the subject came up at a public work session.

City Councilman Ray Metzger also complained recently that Mr. Jackson and two other councilmen run City Hall. Leaving him out, he said, is one reason he announced at mid term that he will not seek re-election.

State law forbids government agencies from making decisions in secret. Also, public support plummets when government isn't open.

The mayor, Mr. Metzger and Councilman Gary Hammon have an obligation to their constituents to be vocal in speaking out against Mr. Jackson, Ronny Russell and David Bolding if and when they feel the triumvirate isn't practicing open government.

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