Trying To Be Positive — By Tommy Purser

I went to yesterday’s (Tuesday’s) called meeting of the Hazlehurst City Council because I was curious — interested. I didn’t want to say anything, I just wanted to watch. Mary Ann Anderson was there to report on the meeting on this newspaper’s behalf. So I wasn’t there to report. I was just a silent observer.
I left the meeting …. unsurprised. It was about what I expected. After all, I served eight years on the City Council and then chose not to seek re-election out of hopeless frustration.
Oops! I just went against my plan to try to come up with a positive column about a negative experience and I just deviated from that plan by using the words “hopeless frustration.”
So, let me try again to come up with something positive to say about yesterday’s drama. Oh, nuts! There I go again. “Drama” is not a very positive word to use. So, let me try, once again.
Our current Mayor has, historically, given the public ample opportunity to speak at council meetings and I applaud that effort. On a number of occasions, I have expressed my uneasiness with the fact that our Board of Education and County Commission are not so open to hearing from the public as is our City Council (That’s not really a negative comment, at least as far as the City Council goes, so that doesn’t really violate my effort to be positive).
I have written in this space several times in the past about how our city government is in chaos. Tuesday’s meeting verified that opinion.
Darn! There I go again. Write something positive, Tommy. I’m trying. I’m really trying.
I was heartened by the fact that so many people came to the meeting out of concern for the heroes in our midst. The men and women who protect us from harm. The people that allow me and so many fellow citizens to sleep peacefully each evening when we lay our heads on our pillows to escape into dreamland.
The men and women who stop by my place of business at 1 a.m. and check the doors to make sure my building is secure.
The people who respond when strife erupts in our homes and neighborhoods. Who watch our streets to guard against reckless, life-endangering drivers.
The men and women who literally put their lives on the line — and the well being of their families on the line — every time they punch in their time cards.
I, and many other citizens, appreciate them. So, as the good wife said to me last night after the meeting, what is wrong with giving these extraordinarily overworked and underpaid employees a raise now and ask the other departments to be patient until the budget process can address their needs.
It was said repeatedly at the meeting that the police department employees should wait until budget time, presumably to mollify employees who work in different departments. Maybe the citizens of Hazlehurst would be better served if those employees in the other departments would be patient. Just a thought.

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