EDITORIAL: Council takes step forward

By Observer editorial September 30, 2013 11:05 am

The resignation of Elgin’s city recorder/administrator last week was shocking — to the residents, to councilors, to the mayor. It has put the city in a tough spot as officials look at ways to move forward.

Last Wednesday, the council met to discuss the situation and accept the resignation, which they forgot to do at the end of the Sept. 23 special session when Mayor Brent Linville read Terrie Richards’ letter of resignation.

Though city officials and councilors have found themselves in a bit of a pickle, now is an opportunity for Elgin to move on from some of its past problems and strive forward.

The disbanding of the police department after a fatal shooting and allegations of improper recording and lack of financial transparency are a few of those problems. Councilor Michelle Miles, who was appointed last week, has said she also wants to address the ordinances, which have not been updated since the police department was dissolved.

At the end of the Wednesday night meeting, Mayor Linville was applauded by a resident for not rushing into choosing someone to fill the administrator role.

The mayor and councilors made it clear that they need to research and thoughtfully consider their next move, especially if they decide to try to change the position to an appointed one.

“We’re not going to jump on anything. We’re going to make the right decision,” Linville said at the meeting.

The staff who work in the city office told officials they can handle the day-to-day operations, and it is wise to allow them to prove that. 

It is also wise to look closely at the job description for the administrator in Monday’s work session, and to do it first. Having clear expectations of what they want out of that position will be vital to the city’s success. It will also be vital in moving forward to filling the position with someone who is on the same page as the council.

Personal politics can be a big part of small towns. But the meetings last week in Elgin indicate that is not the route the council wants to take. 

The council, mayor and city staff should be commended for taking the time out of their lives to hold so many meetings, working to resolve the situation and seeking progress for their community. Though Mayor Linville and the Elgin City Council have many tough decisions ahead, they are on the right track.