March 10, 2010 10:57:00 AM
That was quick.
What appeared to be a political shakeup in the Lowndes County Board of Supervisors ended practically before it started.
District 1 Supervisor Harry Sanders, claiming he had lost support of a majority of board members, resigned the presidency of the board on March 1, after he fell on the losing side of a squabble over emergency repairs to county roads. (Sanders says more played into his decision to resign than the road vote.)
A little over a week later, he was re-elected president on a 3-2 vote, nominated for the position by District 2 Supervisor Frank Ferguson -- the very supervisor who challenged Sanders'' leadership and sided against him on the road plan.
It seems Ferguson, the board vice president, couldn''t wait to patch up his differences with Sanders and hand the gavel back to him.
That 3-2 vote -- Sanders (voting for himself), Ferguson and District 3 Supervisor John Holliman on one side, District 4 Supervisor Jeff Smith and District 5''s Leroy Brooks on the other -- is one we''ve come to expect from this board. Some supervisors complain when we point out that it falls along racial lines. It does. They also complain when we say they often vote in this political bloc. They do.
The road work vote was rare, in that it was an important vote that didn''t fall along racial lines (3-2 with Ferguson, Smith and Brooks in favor). Sanders sitting on the losing side made it even more so.
Our readers have been having a field day with this episode. "We will never be a progressive region of the state as long as our so-called leaders act like children fighting among themselves," one person commented online.
"Sounds just like a bunch of Little Boys playing ball in the yard ... If you won''t play by my rules, then I''ll take my ball, quit, and go home ... OK, now that you agree to play by my rules, I''ll bring my ball back and we can play some more," another person said.
Our supervisors need to realize that this is how the public sees them.
That said, Sanders has been effective, in the areas of industrial development and keeping a viselike grip on the county checkbook. Despite the personal dynamics of the board, we believe they made the right decision by reappointing Sanders. While stubborn and acerbic to a fault, he is the supervisor most capable of leading the board at this time.
The supervisors proved this -- and validated Sanders'' my-way-or-the-highway style -- by reappointing him. They also validated their own inability, or unwillingness, to lead.
While we''ve pleaded for the board to exercise civility in the past with little effect, we make the plea again. We also urge them to work together, and not at cross purposes -- Sanders and District 5 Supervisor Leroy Brooks, in particular. If we''re going to be treated to more of the Harry Sanders Show for the near future, these traditional foils need to find common ground. And, we hope each side of that 3-2 split can reach across to the other, and work for what''s best for the county.
And, we''d like to remind Sanders that it''s OK to be on the losing side every now and again. "It seems that if everything doesn''t go his way he wants to run and pout," one reader said.
Harry, prove them wrong.