I went to City Hall in Jackson and watched the City Council in action. There was nothing to remind one of the days of Stokes and Louis Armstrong. Stamps, Priester, Foote, and Hendrix were present. However, what I saw made me wonder if the city council is actually capable of governing Jackson. Look at this picture:
That is JPD Chief Lee Vance. He sat on those steps during most of the meeting as he waited to be called before the city council. What is the problem?
The meeting started at 6:00 PM. Did the city council jump right into business? Nope. The council instead spent nearly an hour and a half listening to public comments. Everyone who thought they might have a beef or wanted to speak truth to power got up there and did so. Here we are at 7:30 PM and the city council finally moves on to handling city business. The meeting finally ended a few minutes after 10:00 PM. The Chief and other department heads sat around for most of the evening as the city council likes to have them at their beck and call when they are in session.
However, it gets better. Chief Vance and his fellow cabinet ministers had to sit around for two hours during the Monday work session. Get this straight: The city council requires the Chief of Police and other department heads to spend nearly over half of a work day waiting to serve the city council. Crime is a problem, roads are crumbling, and Jackson issued boil water notices on a daily basis yet the city council would rather have the people who are actually running the city come act as servants in waiting at their marathon meetings.
I will repeat what I just wrote: The police chief, the fire chief, and the other department heads- the people who actually run the city- are forced to sit around at city council meetings for at least half a work day while they wait to be called before the city council, even if they are not posted on the agenda.
The Mayor should tell the council that he will make his department heads available to them if they specifically place them on the agenda but the days of their sitting around as servants in waiting is over. Over, over, over. It is time for this foolishness to stop and allow those who actually run the city to do their jobs but then, REMF's rarely understand that concept, do they?
The city council also needs to show some leadership and start handling the city's business. Most of the city council wants to play leader without actually leading and that my friends, is the bottom line.