Understanding your role

Published 5:46 pm Saturday, October 17, 2009

Citizens residing under a democratic form of government look to their elected leaders for two extremely important qualities –leadership and honesty.

The trust built between federal, state, county and municipal leaders and the people who put them in office is vital when operating an effective form of government.

However, power can be abused, even by those who have the best interest at heart of their hometown, county, state or nation.

Earlier this week, members of the Murfreesboro Town Council nixed a recommendation offered by Mayor Lynn Johnson to change the town’s organizational chart. In this particular case, the mayor saw her powers as equal to those on the town council. They are not.

Without question, Mayor Johnson loves Murfreesboro. She wants to see it grow and prosper and we join her in those thoughts.

She can better serve the town she so dearly loves by doing what mayors of small towns do – be its loudest cheerleader. Small town mayors, as do most all mayors in the state of North Carolina, hold basically ceremonial type positions. They preside over meetings of the governing board; can only vote in case of a tie; and are typically the chief spokesperson for the municipality.

Town council members hold the power. They make all the official decisions. Council establishes the local tax rate, adopts a budget, sets policies for municipal services, passes ordinances to regulate behavior and enters into agreements on behalf of the municipality.

With the recent jump in student enrollment at Chowan University and the possibility of a motel coming to town, Murfreesboro is poised for growth. Now, more than ever, the town’s leaders need to present a unified face. That means everyone needs to understand their roles…let the mayor “cheer” and the council “lead.”