A guaranteed turnover on council, but will it be enough?

May 9–The announcement Monday that Filomena Mullis, the Ward 5, Post 1
representative would not seek re-election brings to four City Council seats that
will have new people sitting in them come December. Mullis joins Ward 5
colleague Cole Thomason who is also not seeking re-election. Nancy White, after
less than a year on the job, will be the ward’s senior representative.

Ward 3 will also be looking for two new members. Anita Ponder is giving up her
Post 1 seat to run for mayor, and Henry Ficklin is giving up his Post 3 seat to
run for mayor as well. There is still time for minds to change. Nothing is
official until June 8 when qualifying ends for partisan candidates. Independent
candidates have to qualify on or before June 29. Those who have dropped out
could drop back in and those who have said they were running for mayor may have
a change of heart when it comes time to lay down the $2,910 qualifying fee.
People have already stepped up to fill the seats of the councilpersons who are
running for mayor.

As of this writing, there are three other seats in play, all in Ward 1. Victor
Hunt is opposing Elaine Lucas for the Post 3 seat and Ronnie Miley is after the
Post 2 seat held by Rick Hutto. Hutto has not officially indicated whether or
not he will seek re-election. Brenda Youmas, the citywide representative for
Ward I, is rumored to be challenged by Keith Moffett.

In Ward II, Mike Cranford and Ed DeFore have already announced they will seek
re-election. No word yet from James Timley who holds the citywide seat. In Ward
IV, no one has announced an intent to seek those seats, not even the incumbents,
but Miriam Paris, when running for the unexpired term of Charles Dudley last
year, indicated she would seek re-election if elected.

Contested races heat up the election process, and it’s a good thing when people
offer as candidates. Voters have the responsibility of choosing the candidates
who will represent them best. All too often incumbents get a pass. With no
opponent they can relax for another four years, and the coming term will be
anything but relaxing.

The next council will have a number of pressing issues to address. The most
pressing? Finances, and how to deal with the growth of the city’s budget. How to
put business-like structures in place to make the necessary purchases of heavy
equipment and police vehicles so that we’re not paying extra to keep old
vehicles on the road. Health-care costs are another bottomless pit. Should the
city mimic private industry and have employees contribute to their health-care
expenses? Can the city’s workforce be reduced? And how about a pay scale?
Difficult decisions for sure, but the property taxpayers of the city can’t be
leaned on much more. The new council will have to reduce the burden, not
increase it.

 Title: EDITORIAL: A guaranteed turnover on council, but will it be enough?
Source: Macon Telegraph, The (GA); 05/09/2007

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