Time to do away with relic of past

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 25, 2004

Next week Suffolk City Council gathers for its organizational meeting, at which it will tap one of its own to preside as mayor for the next two years.

Another Council member will be made vice mayor.

Newspaper reports refer to a 3-3 split among the Council with Sleepy Hole representative Linda Johnson on the bubble over whether Mayor E. Dana Dickens III of Chuckatuck should carry the mantle for a second term or whether first-term Suffolk Borough representative Bobby Ralph should replace him.

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While Ralph is certainly a qualified candidate who would represent the city well, Dickens has done nothing but serve the city well and unless someone comes up with a valid reason otherwise, he should be given a second term.

Be that as it may, valid reasons have nothing to do with who the mayor of Suffolk will be. Because negotiations take place behind closed doors, Suffolk citizens are kept in the dark about how their mayor is selected. It all boils down to secret promises and deals among the seven.

Such machinations are a relic of 19th-century machine politics and have no place in the 21st-century, particularly in a city such as Suffolk, one that is trying to project a forward-thinking, progressive image.

It’s time to let Suffolk citizens have the power to select their mayor and do away with the scheming.