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The City Council meeting on Dec. 4 provides proof that the present city council supports the City Manager over its duty to do what is best for the people of Altus. In spite of the November elections that defeated all of the City Manager’s proposals to take away the citizen’s right to vote for the Chief of Police, City Clerk and Street Commissioner, and in spite of the late November verification of a petition that places the issue of city government on the Feb. 12 ballot which, if approved, would reduce the authority of the (non-elected) City Manager and make the Mayor (who is elected by the voters), the City’s chief administrator, the council, with Mayor Jack Smiley out of town, met in secret executive meeting, then in open session voted to change the City Manager’s contract, to the effect that if you, the voters, voted to reduce her power, she could receive six months’ salary of many thousands of dollars.
The council members are supposed to be responsive to the citizens who elected them. It has been obvious over the last few months with past letters to the editor, the November election results, the successful petition placing the form of city government on the February ballot, and numerous council candidates challenging the incumbents, that the will of the people is seriously challenging the status quo.
The council had no valid reason to provide the City Manager such a “Golden Parachute” if you, the voters, vote to reduce her power. The obvious conclusion is that the present council members don’t care what the voters want and are, for some reason, beholding to the City Manager’s wishes. The truth be known, it is time to replace present council members with ones who listen to the people of Altus.
Patricia Jones Blackman, Candidate for City Council.