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Your Views: Vote no to elect mayor, school board chairman
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Is The Times editorial board’s endorsement for an elected mayor and school board chair disingenuous? Should the editorial board qualify its endorsement by including a disclose of its current litigation with the city of Gainesville?

The majority of the editorial deals with the city, and it is apparent the Times considers that the major issue. With tax dollars in short supply, why would Reps. James Mills and Carl Rogers have us waste tax dollars to open polls for a nonbinding resolution?

The voting public of Gainesville should return a resounding "no" vote. As the editorial correctly points out, very little would change if there was an elected mayor or chairman. We don’t elect the speaker of the House; that’s a function the House performs.

Informed citizens understand consolidating power to individual position is inherently risky. The council and school board, when in session with a quorum present, are the authority and representatives of the people. The power resides with the group, not an individual. A group of elected individuals debating, compromising, finding solutions is far superior to governance by one elected official with a perceived "mandate."

Too much power in the hands of a too few elected officials is the problem in Washington. Local government is better served with elected groups of committed lay persons who volunteer a great deal of time to public service.

Yes, they receive a small stipend, but most locally elected officials are people who care about their communities and neighbors. They provide a service with a variety of skills and experiences, giving something back to their communities, but that doesn’t make them city management experts. They hire the experts with proven skills and qualifications to run the day to day operations. Having elected mayors and chairmen likely will add bureaucracy, which costs more tax money.

Look to the Hall County commission, with its countywide elected chairman, to see if its governance model is notably better than the city’s. Accusations and the appearance of conflicts of interest, the inability to iron out issues with the old jail, problems in the tax assessors office, handing out lucrative second retirement plans are a few examples from the county. Good governance has more to do with individual statesmanship than individual position.

The citizens of Hall and Gainesville would be better served if our local delegation would concentrate on important state issues rather than meddling in local governance. The Times is highly critical of local government but does little reporting concerning ineffective state representation from our "senior" representatives, Mills and Rogers.

For example, our children and teachers are in "learning environments" with huge leaks and unhealthy conditions because of the lack of funds for major roof repairs. The mold, mildew and electrical hazards should be as much of a concern for our state representatives as local officials since the state wields authority, funding and statute over our local schools. State money is allocated for repairs but tied up. The state delegation should be working to free up the dollars; instead, it is consumed with a nonbinding resolution on local government.

Vote "no" for this "important" nonbinding resolution.

Charlie Wildman

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