Pubdate: Tue, 14 May 2002
Source: Decatur Daily (AL)
Copyright: 2002 The Decatur Daily


Hartselle Mayor Clif Knight gave the perfect response after a resident 
called for concerned citizens to attend all City Council meetings.

"I think it's fantastic that they are coming to our meetings," Mr. Knight 
said. "We operate in the open and welcome anybody who wants to come."

Mr. Knight was responding to accusations made by a Crestline elementary 

The teacher, Lane Hampton, believes the council is hurting the good name 
and character of the school system. She believes the City Council calls 
last-minute work sessions "in hopes few people will attend so they can 
continue to bash our work."

Mr. Knight denies this. The school board and council have been at odds 
after two Hartselle High baseball players collapsed in school March 4. One 
tested positive for marijuana. Some council members are upset that School 
Superintendent Lee Hartsell took no punitive action. The council members 
publicly voiced their concerns.

Now, many more people are interested in city government.

That's good.

Officials on all elected or appointed boards should have Mr. Knight's 
attitude. The public, by law, has the right to attend these meetings.

Both Ms. Hampton and Mr. Knight are doing the right thing. She's calling 
for more public participation in city government. Mr. Knight is inviting 
members of her "City Council Watch Group" to participate.

All government, city, state and national, needs public opinion to function 
properly. That's the basis of democratic society.

With few exceptions, attendance at most governmental body meetings is 
sparse. Too many citizens show up only when a controversial issue is 
involved. The issue here is the school system

We wish Ms. Hampton success in forming her watch group. But she must also 
be forewarned that the numbers of people attending will probably dwindle 
once this controversy passes.

People should be more interested in government. But if council discussions 
and actions don't involve what's happening in their back yard, they don't 

The best thing that could happen to Hartselle would be to have a full house 
of citizens interested in all decisions and not just those affecting the 
school system.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom