February 19, 2014 10:22:45 AM
The contents of this article have been modified since its original posting.
On Tuesday, the Starkville Board of Aldermen appointed Juliette Weaver-Reese to the Starkville School District Board of Trustees, a move that ended the 10-year tenure of current school board president Eddie Myles.
That decision, like so many of the moves this board has made since took over in July, was not without incident.
During a discussion over whether Myles, who missed a deadline to apply for reinstatement, should be eligible for consideration for the position, Lisa Wynn told Mayor Parker Wiseman she didn't believe him, a comment that evoked an audible gasp among the audience, but seemed not to register at all with Ward 7 alderman Harry Vaughn.
At the board's previous meeting, Vaughn passionately complained about unkind comments directed to the board by residents who have grown frustrated by this board's routinely bizarre behavior.
Vaughn, who normally keeps a low profile at board meetings, scolded the public then, saying: "It hurts me to see that we elected officials have to sit here and take this from the public -- how they sit and talk about us...We are human beings. We try to make the best decisions. This board is talked about so bad...God is not pleased with what they sit out here and say."
Apparently, God and Henry Vaughn are indifferent to insults directed toward Wiseman by board members, however.
Vaughn's piety also appears to be situational: He declined to recuse himself from Tuesday's discussions and votes on the school board position even though he has a daughter who works in the school district, against the advice of the State's code of ethics. Interestingly, Vaughn recused himself on school board appointments in 2010 and 2012. Tuesday, Jason Walker and Scott Maynard recused themselves from the discussion/vote because they have relatives who work in the school district.
Vaughn's inconsistency notwithstanding, by far the most unfortunate aspect of Tuesday's meeting was Wynn's deplorable lack of civility toward the mayor.
In the discussion as to whether Myles should be considered for the board position despite missing the filing deadline, Parker argued that the ambiguity surrounding the deadline should be set aside.
Wynn asked Wiseman if he would have extended that same courtesy to Weaver-Reese if she had missed the deadline and Wiseman said he would.
"You know what? I don't believe you," Wynn said, drawing gasps from the audience.
Shame on Wynn. It is one thing to disagree about policy and even question motives. Certainly, the decision as to whether Myles should be considered for the board position was a legitimate point of debate. But Wynn crossed the line between valid dissent and personal attack. She impugned the integrity of the mayor without cause, further damaged her own credibility and embarrassed the city of Starkville with her intemperate outburst.
Lisa Wynn owes not one, but two apologies.
First, she should apologize to Wiseman for her comment.
Second, she should apologize to the citizens of Starkville, who have every expectation that their leaders conduct themselves honorably.