Why Have a Mayor’s Unity Picnic, When There is No Unity in Your Own House?

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in our March 28, 2012 print edition.

The problem with bullying is that if everyone is afraid of the bully, who is going to stand up against him?  That was the fundamental problem with what occurred at the March 20, 2012 City Council Meeting.  Most everyone stood impotent, as the parade of ignorance occurred over and over again, at the meeting.

After the meeting, Sir Robert tried to deflect the illegal paving.  (No dice, Coach.  The Real Story stands behind its source and the fact that you gave permission about the illegal paving.  We both (The Real Story and you) also know that nothing is done in the Public Works Department without your approval.)

Well, boys and girls, just when you think it can’t get more ignorant, it does.  After the meeting, as many of you know by now, Chief Operating Officer David Armstrong filed a grievance, in regard to Mayor Smith’s behavior.  Apparently, Sir Robert went a little crazy over the “Free Paving” article in The Real Story and treated David, in David’s own opinion, in an unprofessional manner.

But wait, it gets better.  Who is overseeing this grievance hearing?  You guessed it – Robert Smith!  No one could make this stuff up.  It was such a bone of contention, that Councilman Kabir Karriem left the Executive Session, for the second time.   The first time was over the handling of the paving situation.  That’s right, campers – at two critical moments involving the misadventures of Robert Smith, no one other than Kabir and Joseph Mickens had the guts to speak out.

Kabir left the meeting and Mickens fought loudly to stop the madness.  However, the other four councilmen sat in silence and were gutless.  They let Robert Smith run the meeting about the possible misdeeds and discipline of Robert Smith. It would be funny, if it was not so sad.

This is so obscene, that it defies logic.  However, it gets worse.  The four councilmen sat on their hands, limp, as the Mayor called department heads before his court to ask them if he was a bully.  Yep, the bully got to browbeat his subjects, one more time, as four councilmen set silently, like small children frighten of their own shadow.

No one said a word.  No one, other than Joe and Kabir, showed any backbone.  Charlie, Bill, Fred and Gene let the madness continue and did nothing to protect the City employees or the community. And, why should they.  They are frightened children.  They no longer have the intestinal fortitude to do their job.  It is sad, but it is true; and, yes, it did happen.

Don’t get lost in all the hype that this is about Public Works.  This is about the Mayor and four Councilmen who are very scared of him.

Of course, all of the department heads stated that Robert was not a bully.  They had to; they needed their jobs.  And, they could see that he had the four votes to fire them, if they said the wrong thing.  Can you blame them?  Watching grown men cower is scary.  Better to lie than lose their jobs. It is understandable.

But, here is the real question, the real concern of it all.  Is anyone every going to stand up to Robert, or do the City and its employees just get ripped apart?  Right now, the answer is that the Mayor has the votes to do whatever he wants.  And, as long as that is the case, Robert rules.  No questions asked.

The bully gets to rule the playground and the City sleeps, as Columbus falls deeper and deeper into the abyss.  It will soon be the eyesore, and not the crown jewel, of Lowndes County.  In the minds of many people, who have fled to the county, this has already happened.

It is time for the community and the business leaders to stand up and let their voices be heard.  The city is dysfunctional, and it is only a matter of time before the house of cards collapses.  Are we going to be on the forefront of change, or are we going to be standing on the sideline, wondering what happened, when the town goes bankrupt?

The City is at a tipping point. The future is now.  Do we ask for accountability, or do we watch, as the town collapses?  There is no need to lie to ourselves.  Columbus is at a crossroads. The next few years will make or break the entire community.

It is time for us to understand that the Mayor doesn’t get extra privileges.  It is time for everyone to know that he is the bully who scares the four Councilmen silly.  And, most importantly, it time for it to stop.  If our elected officials will not do it, then the community must.

The Real Story proudly accepts the fact that we were the lead topic, in the opening segment of the last Council meeting.  There are times when it is necessary to speak truth to power. We were honored to be the first; let’s just hope that we’re not the last.

And, for Robert I will paraphrase a little Shakespeare: “Robert, you protest a bit too much.”  I think we may have hit a nerve.

Joseph B. St. John

Mr. MoJo Rising

About The Real Story

The Real Story for the Golden Triangle and North Mississippi. Always the truth... No Compromise. Changing the community one story at a time! You make the news... We keep it Real.

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2 Comments on “Why Have a Mayor’s Unity Picnic, When There is No Unity in Your Own House?”

  1. Krystle Says:

    Joe.. It is not suprising that no one stood up. We all have seen what happens when you stand up. I am living proof. I mean its time for those of us who have fallen because we stood our ground and spoke out at the wrongs occuring to be vendicated. I know I needed my job I have three kids. But I refuse to turn a blind eye.


  2. Alan Allen Says:

    How is it the Police Chief is passing laws restricting the public’s use of video in a city meeting, which is a direct violation of the States Open Meeting Laws?

    It would seem you won’t get the foxes to abandon the hen house, so it would appear someone from a state or federal level needs to be made aware before it gets MUCH worse.


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