We admire Frank Melton’s tough talk and his obvious commitment
to cleaning up the capital city, reducing crime and simply
making it a better place.
Obviously, the voters of Jackson do, too, given his landslide
victory in the mayoral race this year.
Sometimes, though, the quick-talking Melton goes off halfcocked.
Already he’s had to back down on bulldozing some rundown
and crime infested property without going through
required legal processes protecting property rights.
His latest example of going too far in taking charge was asking
for the resignation of every commissioner and board member
in the city of Jackson this week.
At first it sounded like a demand, but a couple of days later the
city attorney explained that it was only a request.
“He is very much aware that he could not mandate their resignations
nor fire them, if you will,” said Sarah O’Reilly-Evans,
She’s correct, of course.
So is Jackson School Board Vice President Jonathan Larkin
who says he isn’t turning in his resignation.
“State law is designed to separate the school board from the
political process and to ensure continuity of the board when
there is a transition at the executive level in the municipality,”
Staggered terms are a good thing on boards and commissions
where members go on and off one or two at the time. It’s
a practice that’s well embedded in both state and local governments.
In addition to providing continuity, staggered terms shield vital
agencies, such as school districts, from the political winds of
any one particular season.
Perhaps, at times, the process keeps progressive leaders like
Melton from taking control of certain agencies. But it also offers
the same protection against bad executives.
We appreciate Melton’s enthusiam. It is refreshing. But we
can’t abandon good procedures designed to protect the public.