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Mayor's time on job: Quality better than quantity

By Staff
To the Editor:
If you have driven around Atmore lately, you have surely noticed the numerous campaign signs for the upcoming municipal election. Out of all the candidates slogans, one in particular caught my attention; "Your Full Time Mayor." That slogan belongs to Mr. Howard Shell. Is Mr. Shell implying by this statement that only those who are retired and/or independently wealthy should be allowed to hold the office of mayor? I do not feel that one should not be allowed to pursue a career outside of municipal office. In fact, it is a violation of law to require a mayor to be full-time.
Nearly all of our surrounding cities have mayors hold additional jobs outside of public office. For example, Gulf Shores' mayor owns a real estate business, in which he is acitvely involved. Brewton's mayor is employed by Rite Aid as a pharmacist. Robertsdale's mayor works for BellSouth, and Monroeville's mayor is involved in real estate.
Mr. Shell would set a precedent which would allow only a small group of people to ever be involved in our cities. City government would be limited to a very small elite group. It is not the quantity of time but rather the quality which matters most. To effectively be mayor one should be skilled at time management and delegating. In order to achieve both efficiency and effectiveness, a mayor should hire competent people to oversee the various departments within city hall.
If a mayor has to be full-time in order to effectively do his/her job, then nearly all of our neighboring cities' mayors must be ineffective. I don't believe for one second that this is the case. I belive that Mr. Shell realizes that it took him full- time what anyone who is efficient should be able to do in half the time.
Marcus L. Weaver