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Flaggs availability, accessibility refreshing at a time when information is crucial

There have many who have questioned or even criticized Mayor George Flaggs for his frequent online question and answer sessions of recent weeks.

There have been those who have wondered what value there is in his regular updates, his projections for when and how city-wide restrictions will be phased in and questioned the need for both a juvenile and community curfew at a time when the restarting of the economy is just around the corner.

Some of that criticism and questioning is valid, but while there is reason to criticize, there is reason to both celebrate and appreciate what Flaggs is doing.

With each broadcast, which have been shared through The Vicksburg Post’s Facebook page, Flaggs has provided a road map of what businesses and sectors of the local economy will be allowed to reopen once the governor and state health officials say it is safe to do so.

Yes, there have been hiccups in his plans, and some grey area unexplored, but there is little doubt of his plans.

In his most recent session on Tuesday, Flaggs gave a stark reminder that this economic slowdown, which came at no fault of local businesses or their employees, will impact the city of Vicksburg, its finances and very likely its workforce.

Whether it is a 12 percent slash in staffing, a 5 percent across-the-board cut in pay or the targeted elimination of employees who have worked for the city less than one year, three years or five years, the downtown in the economy and the expected decline in sales taxes will have to be made up somewhere. Vicksburg’s budget is not like the federal government’s budget; it must be balanced.

In recent years, the fiscal management of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, and their aggressive budgeting, have given the city a surplus that can and will be used in the short-term, but the economy will not bounce back as quickly as it was shut down.

Say what you will about Mayor Flaggs, his approach and his plans, but what you cannot argue is that the city of Vicksburg has a leader who is not afraid to stand up, say what he thinks and has planned and then answer questions accordingly.

At a time when answers are hard to come by, having local leaders who are willing to share their thoughts with the public is truly refreshing.