City government must follow the rules

Published 11:00 pm Saturday, September 29, 2012

While the ends might have been justified in two amendments slipped into Tuesday’s Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting, the means certainly were not.

• One declared an old lighting system at Bazinsky Field surplus property to be donated to Warren County.

• Another was an application for a $40,000 Cities of Service reading grant made before board approval.

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The measures drew the ire of South Ward Alderman Sid Beauman, who stormed out of the meeting after saying, “This (the reading program) is a good program. But it is not supposed to be done this way. I could not support it presented in this way. I will not sign off on this or anything else that will be done in this meeting. Thank you very much.”

Beauman said Board procedure is to have information available with time to study it before a vote is taken. North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield said he had discussions about the grant on Friday, but did not know it was placed on the agenda. Both aldermen and Mayor Paul Winfield said they saw a Sept. 19 letter from county recreation director James Harrison about the lighting.

Who put it on the agenda? How did it get on there in the first place? Questions, gentlemen, that should be answered.

The Target-funded Cities of Service grant is a noble endeavor. It’s designed to help improve cities by getting residents more involved in their communities. The reading grant will be used for reading and literacy programs for children from kindergarten through third-grade at Dana Road and Sherman Avenue elementary schools.

The mayor said he asked to see if the city qualified for the grant and that the application should have been approved by the board before it was submitted. He said a deadline was involved.

Deadline or not, noble or not, city government runs on rules. Those rules must be followed, no matter the topic.