Letter: Council, not Olson, in charge of city progress

By Bill Hiemer

The Daily Advance

2 Comments | Leave a Comment

As Councilman Michael Brooks often accurately indicates, Elizabeth City operates under the council-manager form of government. Council is responsible for hiring our city manager and, according to our city charter, “Council shall hold the City Manager responsible for the proper management of the affairs of the City.” As Councilman Montravias King recently correctly proclaimed, “the buck stops at this dais.” Clearly, our City Council is in charge. Elizabeth City is their responsibility.

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Comments

Management not Direction

Than you Bill for a quick refresher on what a Council-manager form of government is all about. Just like a ship at sea, the Captain sets the course and the Officer of the Deck ensures the vessel is operated in accordance with regulations and maintains that course. That is why the Captain is ultimately responsible for everything that goes wrong or right with his ship.

It is interesting that the discussion of needing to build "a progressive Black middle class" has, to my knowledge, never surfaced in Elizabeth City. Not with past Councils, not during the last election forums, nor in our City retreat in early March. We have, I believe correctly, focussed on economic development and job creation for everyone, regardless of color, race, sex, age, etc. That is what we have all sworn or affirmed an oath to do. Treat everyone the same.

What is long overdue are solutions not complaints. Once again we are harangued by a former councilman telling us that building the aviation park, helping DRS increase their job opportunities, even considering a charter school, passing the Business Incentive and Downtown Improvement grant programs, bothering to create a vision, etc, etc are worthless, and chiding us all by saying we can do better. What is his better? He couldn't tell us when he was on council, he couldn't tell us when he was running for Mayor and he still can't articulate anything beyond "we need to do more".

We are castigated for not doing enough for children when we have a $2.6 million dollar park and recreation budget, conduct many programs for our youth, support the creative arts for our youth, rebuilt Sheep Harney Field to ensure our youth football team has a place to play, give $45 thousand a year and many man hours of time to keep the Police Athletic League viable and have committed considerable resources to rehab the old middle school to expand the activities of PAL and the Boy's and Girl's Club. Interestingly that former councilman who always says we need to do better was the city representative to the Park and Rec Advisory Board. What did he propose?

Finally we are told that none of the $60 plus million in grant moneys our city manager applied for made it to certain neighborhoods. Well better sewer service, better water service, better roads, improved drainage, more reliable electric service, and more and better jobs help everyone. In this case over $1M in drainage improvements will have been made. Interestingly, when the Police Department applied for nearly $1M in grant funds that specifically targeted this certain neighborhood with direct spending in the ward their Councilman objected.

Community Vision 2020 is a start toward long term progress throughout the city but we need people to get engaged and help shape it and make it a reality. As has been often said, "if you aren't part of the solution, you are part of the problem." I personally would love to see more people at the podium with ideas for improvement. Come on down.

Thank you for

writing. Very good point.

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