Changes

editorial-logo3Change comes hard for some, and it is no different for elected officials. Make no mistake, we have much change coming in Jefferson County. A new Director of Schools will be a necessity when Dr. Charles Edmonds heads back home at the end of the calendar year. It is my opinion that Edmonds’ departure will result in some pains county-wide. Like many leaders, we may not fully appreciate what we had until he is gone, and we are going through the cramps of change, yet again. I hope, truly hope, that the School Board takes their time in finding the right candidate. I have heard it said that sometimes the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t… unless it isn’t better, because sometimes the devil you know is as bad as it gets. And I am not speaking of Director Edmonds. The search for a new Director of Schools is no time to get myopic. We need a strong candidate, and there are some out there. What we don’t need is politics as usual in Jefferson County.

The County Commission had some changes of their own last week as Tucker took the position of Chair, a feat that some, including yours truly, would have bet against ever happening two years ago. Not that Tucker is a bad chair. Contrarily, I have witnessed him run several different committee meetings, and he runs a good meeting. The disbelief came more from the make up of the County Commission and where the traditional thought had loyalties lying. But, things change, and there has been a subtle shift in the thinking of those that count votes for several months. What caused the shift? Contentious reactions regarding the fire department funding and an ongoing school renovation project certainly contributed to a growing sense of dissatisfaction. To be fair, it is much easier to fall than to climb, and former Chairman Carmichael had several hot topic issues to dodge in his tenure. Was it Tucker climbing up, or the inevitable fall from a hierarchy that, by definition, comes with a wobbly seat? Does it matter? The result is the same: Tucker is the new guy. Will a County Commission with Tucker at the helm look different? I suspect that we will see a more harmonious relationship with the Jefferson County Mayor, which should trickle down to department heads. He’s going to look to streamline the meetings to make them shorter. And, he is going to be the newest member of the EDA. What that means to EDA and future funding is still to be seen.

I look for some changing pains in the next few months, both at the school and county level. Letting go gracefully has never been one of the characteristics of Jefferson County, and I expect that this time will be no different. Hopefully, by the time the ball drops on a New Year, the School Board will have (at least) a short term plan, and the County Commission will have moved into a groove. After all, as soon as 2018 becomes a reality, it is all about elections. Full speed ahead. Here we go!

Source: K. Depew, News Director

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