NEWS TO KNOW
Potential Candidates Should Give A Lot Of Thought Before Running For City Council
Several years ago, during the latter part of my first term as mayor, I had to stop by a store to have a repair made on a small piece of equipment.
There were two people at the counter I approached. One was a guy who appeared to be making sure the chair he was sitting in didn’t escape because he was holding it down and made no attempt to get out of it and ask what I needed.
The other person was a young woman who appeared to be doing all of the work.
She was polite and a few minutes into our conversation about why I was there, she asked: “You’re the mayor, aren’t you?”
I nodded in an affirmative way and the guy leaning back in the chair straightened up and asked “YOU’RE the mayor?”
I said that I was.
Then he said something that was classic: “You know, I’ve been thinking of running for mayor. How much does it pay?”
He continued with how much fun he thought it would be to have the mayor’s job and painted a fairly rosy picture of a life of “power and privilege” by being mayor.
“I follow city politics and it would really be cool to be a part of it,” he said, and again asked “How much does it pay?”
He seemed shocked when I told him, it paid $8,000 a year, which is far below the poverty line.
Anyone who anticipates running for mayor or city council should realize they won’t get rich serving in local offices. (A city council member receives $4,000 a year.)
I can’t speak for anyone else who has served as mayor or city council member, but I lost far more money than I ever made as mayor. (This newspaper could no longer print city legals during the years I served in the office, which was a considerable sum.)
When you become mayor or city council member it will have an impact on your job, the time you can spend with family or recreation, plus, the moment you take the oath of office, you suddenly become brain dead in the eyes of many people who disagree with you or your votes. (Smile)
• SOMEONE once said that, anyone who aspires to run for public office should be disqualified on the basis of bad judgment for deciding to run in the first place!
I was almost tempted to impart to the young man who asked me about running for mayor some “words of wisdom” like:
“If you’re mayor you’ll have to get out of that chair and do something, or, I find it strange that someone who is so involved in city politics doesn’t even know who the mayor is when he is standing in front of you!” (Maybe I looked younger in person.)
I certainly encourage people who have a desire to run for city council or other local bodies to do their homework before getting involved and be able to explain why they would be a good choice for councilman, or mayor.
While the years I spent as mayor were extremely busy because I was also running this newspaper at the same time, and stressful, I would not change the experience for anything and was never sorry that I ran for election and re-election and was able to serve.
I’ve always been proud of this community and thought about the decision to run for several years.
It was a rich and rewarding experience in many ways (not so rewarding in a few ways) and there is no doubt I became a better editor and person by working to help the community I love.
I was honored to be the leader of this city and I’m still happy to be continuing the fight as a private citizen and newspaper editor to move the city forward and support those with the same mindset.
My advice, based on personal experience, is, if you are considering running for mayor or city council member, and it’s not because you are mad at something the city has done, talk to people you respect and get their input on your ideas and if they will support you if you run.
Most of the successful candidates I know followed that formula.
If you are someone who just wants to complain about everything, please don’t run for office. You’re doing a great job where you are at home -- and it doesn’t take any energy on your part!
Three Candidates Have Officially Entered City Council Race
There's presently three candidates who have officially made it known they are going to run for the Decatur City Council in next April’s election.
Park Board Commissioner Chris Riley was the first to announce and I wrote about his decision in an earlier edition. Chuck Kuhle and present councilman Patrick McDaniel announced their candidacies late last week. (Stories about Kuhle and McDaniel’s official announcements are in the column at left.)
Three four-year terms on the council will be up for election and this will be a very important selection of candidates because of the challenges that are facing our city.
The common thread that’s evident in all three candidates who are asking voters to elect, or re-elect in McDaniel’s case, them is that all have served in public office before seeking election to the council.
Riley has served many years on the Decatur Park Board. Kuhle served many years on the Macon County Board and McDaniel continues to serve on the city council.
Seeking election is not something they decided to do because they got ticked off over an issue, and decided to do something about it by getting elected to office.
I’ve known the first three candidates for a long time and I know they have given a lot of thought to making this move towards more public service. I’ve talked with each of them, along with others they have contacted, before they moved forward with their decision to serve, or continue to serve, in public office.
Although many others may announce for the city council seats before the filing of nomination petitions takes place towards the end of the year, the first three out of the chute have experience -- which is reassuring in a day when few people want to move into the public service arena because of the time and energy commitments.
Councilman Shows Support For Law Enforcement Officers
Decatur City Councilman Patrick McDaniel is having some yard signs made that ask the public to support our Law Enforcement Officers.
"I am also going to start a local campaign asking local citizens to wear Blue Ribbons to show their support for Law Enforcement Officers," McDaniel told the Decatur Tribune. "I plan on handing out such ribbons to the mayor, city council members and the city manager at Monday night’s (July 18th) city council Meeting.
"The public must show their support and pride in our Law Enforcement Officers."
Listen to the “City Hall Insider” hour with Paul Osborne on Byers & Co. at 7:00 every Thursday morning over NEWS/TALK 1340 WSOY or visit our website at decaturtribune.net and also find us at our Decatur Tribune Facebook page.
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