Our missing leaders

Former Levy County Commission Chair Nancy Westbury Bell once complained that I never noted in my stories which public officials attended or supported public events. 

She said it was important to let the public know their representatives were representing them. I told her she had a point and started doing more than dutifully noting it in my notepad who was at gatherings. 

I have felled a forest's worth of notebooks in my time at the Citizen and one thing I can say for sure, it is rare that the name of a city commissioner is noted for a public gathering. Once in a blue moon (and I think we have had two in the past year or so) I have spotted Frank Buie doing his public duty. 

At times I have thought our staff is not attending the right gatherings for representing the residents of this city. But I have come to the conclusion that missing persons reports should be filed for the City of Chiefland's commissioners. 

I have bemoaned on this page the lack of leadership from our city commission in grappling with the challenges facing the city. Now I must say I seldom find the occasion out in public to address that in a civil conversation with the commissioners. 

I am sure they will say the public has adequate opportunity to speak with them while they go about their chores in the city. But that is not enough to ask of the people who asked for the honor of representing and leading this city.

They do a nice job of handing out certificates honoring folks, but only if those folks attend a city commission meeting. 

The job of a public official is more than attending meetings and making decisions. 

On Monday, a prominent businessman said it would be nice if the commission would support the Chiefland Centennial Celebration. Go figure. Why would they not support something honoring the city they pretend to serve? But they don't,

On Tuesday, the Greater Chiefland Area Chamber of Commerce bestowed the Citizen of the Year and Humanitarian of the Year honors. The city commissioners were absent. 

For a bunch that says they are business friendly, they didn't show it by shirking the Chamber's annual  Business of the Year banquet in September. 

At one time City Commissioner Teresa Barron attended such gatherings in the company of her business partner Commissioner Westbury Bell. When her partner stopped attending events Barron did as well. 

I could go on, the NAACP Banquet, the Levy County Schools Foundation STARS Gala, the Foundation's Beast Feast, the two Rotary Club's fundraising events. 

Oh, but there are two events they do attend. Twice a year they ride a float in the Christmas Festival and Watermelon Festival parades. There they grace us with their waves and toss us candy. 

Does this remind you of a French queen who lost her head?

Lou Elliott Jones is the editor of the Chiefland Citizen and Cedar Key Beacon. Contact her at editor@chieflandcitizen.com.