Iola leaders under fire over new commission

opinions

March 8, 2010 - 12:00 AM

Iola commissioners have been put on trial as of late.
Their decision to ask for a vote to weigh public sentiment as to what the commission’s new size should be has rankled many. Last year’s 2-to-1 decision to disband the current commission style was seen by some as a vote for an eight-member council and a mayor. That option will be en-forced only if the commissioners decide  be-tween now and next year to sit on their hands and not act on the issue.
The April 6 vote could be the final say, if commissioners choose to act on it.
The vote can not be made binding because, for one thing, it proposes three scenarios and is not an either/or option.
What makes the matter even more confusing is the possibility of still another vote if enough of the public is dissatisfied with the commission’s ensuing action following the vote and petitions for a final-final vote.
Our three commissioners have been publicly maligned for the cumbersome process.
Suspicious minds infer the hesitancy as an un-willingness to relinquish the power held by so few.
Their inaction since the vote, and more recently on an advisory committee’s recommendation, has made them appear, at best, tone deaf to a public clamoring for change.
Others see next month’s vote as a necessary continuation of the process begun with last year’s vote.
Truth is, they’ve had the power all along to change the size of the governing body, but until last year’s referendum, never opted to do so.

THE ISSUE has divided the town into a them-and-us mentality; a microcosm of what’s happening across the country at large. A land with 300 million people can weather, if not thrive, because of diversity of opinion. But for a small town like Iola, the divisiveness can be de-structive.
We all can help mend the rift by doing two things:
* Vote in the April 6 election for your desired size of a city commission — be it for a four-, six -or eight-member body, plus a mayor; and,
* Rally qualified citizens to run for office.
Whatever the outcome of the vote, the next council will be almost double if not triple in size.
That demands a much larger pool of candidates. That the new council will meet in the evenings should eliminate a barrier that has prevented many from throwing their hats into the ring.
Iola’s future depends on good leadership. We’ve been fortunate we’ve been in good hands these many years.
We can continue on a progressive path by electing those who hold Iola as dear as their own family. If you’re not registered to vote, do so now to give your voice to Iola’s future.

— Susan Lynn

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