City runs at its best when everyone is rowing in the same direction

Published 11:49 am Friday, February 14, 2020

Tuesday, Mayor George Flaggs Jr. will host a public meeting to discuss the future of the city’s animal shelter.

During the meeting, Flaggs, Animal Control Officer Kacie Lindsey and interim Community Development Director Jeff Richardson will provide information on what steps have been taken to possibly construct a new shelter and address any of the questions or concerns residents have about the shelter and its services.

But what is odd about this meeting is that Flaggs should not have been the one to call such a meeting, nor recently drive the conversation about looking at contracting out shelter services and consolidation of services with other agencies.

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That responsibility — much like this public meeting — lies with North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield Sr.

In conjunction with the adoption of a new city charter in 2017, the aldermen and the mayor adopted an organizational chart of responsibilities to ensure city departments and services were getting the direct leadership they needed, helping residents find the answers and responses they were looking for in a timely fashion.

And contrary to popular belief, the mayor is not responsible for every department.

As an example, Alderman Mayfield is charged with the direction of the city’s public works department, community development, the all-important Action Line and, in this case, animal control, among others.

South Ward Alderman Alex Monsour has direct leadership of the city’s airport, IT department, the city’s television operations and parks and recreation.

As for the mayor, the city clerk, legal department, economic development, public safety departments, human resources and more are under his purview.

This organizational chart is not just important for the public to know, understand and follow to ensure a quick response, but also for each of the aldermen and the mayor to understand and solely adopt.

Even though the mayor is the only city official elected city-wide, he and the aldermen each have one vote and each has their own responsibilities. If the mayor does not feel such a project — like the new animal shelter location search and construction — is operating in a way or at a pace he believes it should, it is his role to jump in and make adjustments.

The city of Vicksburg is a big operation. It is far more complicated than just turning on the lights in city hall.

For it to run smoothly and efficiently, everyone needs to be rowing in the same direction and paddling their share. If not, we as a city can get off course.

We applaud the city for organizing Tuesday’s public hearing and hope all those passionate about animals and their quality of care will show up.

It would be a shame if such an important conversation was in anyway shorted by lack of attendance.