“So don’t ask me no questions, and I won’t tell you no lies. And don’t ask me about my business, and I won’t tell you goodbye.”
Perhaps our city leaders could just play these lines from the Lynyrd Skynyrd song the next time one of the folks helping pay their salaries has the audacity to ask any questions during a public meeting.
We have been critical of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen’s policy of refusing to respond to questions from residents during the open board meetings since that policy was established during the current administration.
At best, it just seems goofy for board members to simply sit there looking at residents who took the time out of their day to come to the public meeting (during business hours) to share their concerns or try to get questions answered.
At worst, it’s disrespectful. If someone comes in wanting to know why their garbage isn’t being collected on time or something like that, the least city leaders can do is try to give them an honest answer.
“I don’t know, but I’ll try to find out,” is even an acceptable answer as far as we’re concerned.
Ward 4 Alderwoman Elizabeth Thomas and Ward 3 Alderman Sir Jonathan Rucker agreed when they voted to change the policy on Monday.
Ward 1 Alderman Ron Johnson, Ward 2 Alderman Andre Lloyd and Mayor Diane Delaware disagreed, however.
They did offer their reasons, such as their fear that the meetings would get out of control, but many other public boards interact with citizens while setting reasonable limits on time. The Yazoo County Board of Supervisors regularly hears from citizens with concerns, and sometimes those citizens don’t like what the board members have to say. Sometimes the board president has to tell residents it’s time for the board to move on, but no one ever leaves without a response. Our city leaders could visit a county meeting or just about any other city meeting in other communities to see that there’s nothing to be afraid of when it comes to interacting with the people you serve.
If you have the courage to ask them for your vote, you can surely find the courage to respond to their questions.