Mayor cannot shirk responsibility

Mayor Frank Melton is new to the job, so maybe it’s understandable that some glitches might occur early on.

But when the administration presents a budget to the City Council, that’s the mayor’s budget. It shows his priorities. The mayor is responsible for day-to-day operations; the Council is the policy-making board. The Council accepts the mayor’s budget and compares it with priorities it has developed, eventually producing a document that is adopted and that becomes the city’s budget, by law.

So, it’s natural that some people might think that when the city administrator, hired by the mayor, supervised by the mayor, and assumed to be speaking for the mayor, presents a budget to the Council that calls for a $1 million tax hike that the mayor supports this budget that’s presented.
Instead, we now have Peyton Prospere, director of the department of administration, presenting the city’s 2006 budget to the Council for a $1 million tax hike – and Mayor Melton including a note asking the Council to look for ways to cut $1 million. Huh? Which is it? Tax hike or not? If not, then what’s cut? What is the mayor’s proposed budget?

If Melton doesn’t outline his priorities in the budget he presents, then he has lost his say in the budget process.

That’s the way it works. Or, in this case, doesn’t.

Clarion Ledger Editorial
8/18/5