MILLEDGEVILLE — The elected city and county leaders of our community were asked during the last election cycles their opinions about unification of city and county governments. It has been my observation the answers many of our elected officials gave during the election process is different than their current position on the same issue now that the elections are over.
I have purposely been observing the mayor, six alderman, and fellow commissioners with great interest on the issue of community unification. I have attended unification meetings and briefings with them all. I have watched their body language, their questions (or lack thereof), and listened to their private comments and discussions. What I hear, and their public comments, are not always the same.
In my opinion, the core issue with some of our elected officials is a lack of respect for the voter. Some of them are convinced they were elected to pick and choose what issues the voter should decide for themselves. Some are convinced they know what is best for the voter and community because they have become smarter. In a few cases it is obviously about the potential loss of status, and ego.
To all that will listen, it continues to be my opinion the current primary issue is not about the proposed unification charter. It is about giving our friends, neighbors, and families the opportunity to decide for themselves what form of government they desire. Our community is not so large, or the issue so complex. Our community at large should be given the opportunity to decide if they choose to change our fundamental form of government. Without the support of the majority of our elected officials, the process for the community to choose our local form of government gets much more complicated.
It is appropriate for our elected officials to return the confidence and trust given them by trusting those voters that elected them. It is simply a matter or returning the respect to the voter our community voters gave us during the last election process. Let our community be a real democracy. Put power and ego aside. Trust our community will decide what is best for all of us.
If you agree “your elected officials are in their positions because they know what is best for you”, call them and thank them. If you “desire to represent yourself” on the issue of unification and any other local issues, immediately call those you elected and be heard.
Our community has talked about community government unification for decades. Let our community decide!
Henry R. Craig
Baldwin County Commissioner