Butler County Times Gazette
  • Kent Bush: Something has to change - get involved

  • This is not the time to be apathetic. Become a candidate for a seat on the Augusta City Council.
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  • You have until noon on January 22 to file your paperwork to become a candidate for a seat on the Augusta City Council.
    This is not the time to be apathetic.
    When your city council has a series of executive sessions that last longer than the entire meeting of the governing body of some cities, it is a pretty sure sign of disfunction.
    Some issues are a matter of fact. Some are merely opinion.
    But no matter what you believe, you have to know that something has to change.
    Monday night, the council attempted to discontinue City Manager Bill Keefer’s status as a contracted employee. For more than 16 years, he has worked for this city under contract. People in Keefer’s position almost always work under a binding agreement because all city managers know that their tenure can end at the next mayoral or council election.
    Sasha Stiles in Andover, Herb Lewellen in El Dorado and Kathy Raney in Rose Hill all have contracts to fill that role for their cities.
    After all, the people that hired Keefer are no longer on the council. Some of the people who have been his boss for the past two years may not continue to serve in those positions after the election April 2.
    If Keefer served as an at will employee, his employment could be terminated on any Monday night as long as one councilor made a motion that could get a second and at least a majority of the votes. If only five council members were present, it is conceivable that three votes could put a city manager in the unemployment line.
    You can understand why someone with the skills and training to run a city, electric company, and sanitation department might demand some protection from that kind of action.
    If you like the way things are going and want to join in, now is the time for you to run for city council. If you are embarrassed by the way things are going and don’t like the things this council is doing or how they are doing it, you have until noon on January 22 to sign up to run and help make a difference.
    If you don’t want to run, you should at least support the candidates who would do it the way you want it done.
    These elections matter.
    The governing body oversees major construction projects, sets water usage policies, decides which streets get repaired and determines a significant portion of your tax bill each year. How those decisions are made will depend on who is elected to the city council this spring.
    Page 2 of 2 - This is your chance to make your voice heard by running for office, supporting a candidate or, at the very least, voting.
    You owe it to yourself to get involved.
     
    Kent Bush is the publisher of The Augusta Daily Gazette, The El Dorado Times, and The Andover American newspapers. He can be reached at:publisher@augustagazette.com.

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