Winfield’s energy level important to Vicksburg

Published 12:30 am Sunday, July 4, 2010

Paul Winfield was upbeat and confident from the moment he made public his intentions to seek the office of mayor of Vicksburg. After a year on the job, he’s still upbeat and confident. That’s important because, frankly speaking, any community without energetic leadership will lose ground in today’s competition to provide jobs and ever-improving living conditions for citizens.

Winfield has also managed a mostly open administration, which has always been and will always be crucial to building and maintaining public confidence, which is essential in progressive communities.

Vicksburg has a unique corporate charter. While the mayor is ceremonially in charge, the fact is that any city action requires two votes. The aldermen can overrule the mayor, and have done so. Mayor Winfield has matured into recognition of this aspect as well as the necessity of reaching out to all voters, including those skeptical of his youth and inexperience after he defeated two-term incumbent Laurence Leyens.

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Crime — especially youth crime — looms as a major challenge and one that has the attention of the mayor and Police Chief Walter Armstrong. They are taking a multifaceted approach and deserve the community’s full support. Achieving a balance in the continued commercial and residential development of the downtown area should be another priority and, as yet, seems to lack the focus it deserves.

It appears, at least from our perspective, that Mayor Winfield has responded to the challenges this city and all cities face. The top office is not all about speeches, pledges, handshakes and pats on the back. A mayor, more than anything else, is a strategic manager of a public service corporation with more than 500 employees and a $30 million budget. Winfield’s calm self-confidence is serving the city well.