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Making The Right Choices

By Staff | Aug 12, 2020

Common sense most often lets one know when it’s time to give up. Paden City just had an election, and it was clear the residents wanted a new Mayor.

That’s a strong indication the people were displeased. Citizen complaints have been many, varying from lack of clean water, unkept properties, much needed street repairs and trouble keeping a full police force. Those are just a few of the problems that continue to haunt the community.

Although there have been continuing problems for several years, the residents seem to have had enough, and expressed that by voting for a change. During the past year or more there has been a council position vacancy in the third ward. It just happens to be in the ward that the ousted Mayor lives in, and now he is advocating for the spot. Is that just a coincidence or was it foreplanned? By not appointing someone to fill the job, it left the an open door to stay invoved in city politics, and that is just not right. In fact it is a clear violation of the city charter. Yet, that’s exactly what happened!

The city charter is clear that when a vacancy occurs the position is to be filled immediately. Questions no longer remain as to why the residents of the third ward had been left without proper representation for months, it’s became quite clear.

The City Charter states that: Whenever a vacancy shall occur from any cause in the office of Mayor, Councilman, Recorder or Chief of Police, the Common Council shall immediately fill such vacancy by vote of the majority of the Common Council, with all elective offices to be filled until the next general election and the appointive offices for the remainder of the term. All such appointees shall qualify within five days immediately following the date of their appointment.

It is odd however, that immediately following his defeat, the ousted Mayor is listed on the city agenda to fill the position. It also seems unethical that there has been idle talk from council members endorsing him for the position. Text messages, phone calls and talk on the street is not the proper way for council to decide who they want. This could be a violation of the sunshine laws.

Sunshine laws are in place to ensure certain activities are conducted in an open and ethical nature. This allows members of the public to bear witness to certain activities or to request access to records pertaining to certain topics. They are designed to limit corruption within the affected organizations and increase public trust through willing transparency.

Public trust is something lacking right now from small towns to the White House, and one would think those in office would take every reasonable measure to ensure the will of the people be done. It would be a good jester to announce the opening for the council position so others could express an interest. City council members have a responsibility to those they represent, and should make it a priority to work on their behalf to correct problems instead of creating more. Council is also responsible to do the right thing when it comes to appointments, conflicts of interest should be avoided, and every precaution should be taken to ensure they do the right thing.

All to often for the past several years the response to citizens complaints have been overlooked or forgotten. Many have had to make multiple trips to council meetings with their concerns before getting any action. It’s time to fill the vacancy, but council should be extra carefu who they appoint to the post. Council postitions should go to people who are concerned with making the community a better place to live and not to someone who has a personal agenda.

Mayor Rick Casteel and council tabled any action on filling the council position at the regular meeting on July 3. That was the proper thing to do until they find someone willing to work for the community and the citizens.