If you are reading this letter, I am going to assume you take the time each week to read the Times and have followed our local political campaigns. You have probably read the facts and figures, the “he saids” and “she saids,” the “he dids” and “she dids,” and might even have made a firmly-rooted decision concerning who you will vote for in the run-off. First of all, I encourage you to vote. Regardless of who you support, you need to make your voice and choices known. Apathy is the murderer of democracy.
I want to share a few of my thoughts and observations. You are free to agree or disagree or even pause for a moment of thought and reflection.
Firstly, I love our town’s library. Caty Greene and others brought the vision to life and it is a community treasure. The city valued its potential and decided to hire a certified and experienced full-time librarian. Valentina Webb served on the selection committee and we have a wonderful librarian, hired because of “what she knows” rather than “who she knows.” Initially, Kevin Begos proposed making the position a part-time or shared post, but under criticism from opponents and supporters alike, he has walked-back his decision. I applaud his change of heart but question his first thoughts regarding the position. A well-qualified librarian does cost money, but ignorance would cost our town even more.
There has been a lot of talk about our city manager. Once again a need was identified. Apalachicola was precariously perched on the verge of a financial downfall. A position was created, and a search took place for someone with knowledge and experience to straighten the house. Mr. Nalley was hired based on credentials and experience, because of “what he knows” rather than “who he knows.” Ms. Webb was on the selection committee and we now have someone to oversee the activities and decisions of the city to keep us on the right path. Mr. Begos has proposed cutting the position and returning to a “strong mayor” system. Apparently that didn’t work. We will all benefit from a system in which the mayor is elected by the voters’ will and the city manager can provide guidance based on his education and expertise. I also think that since Apalachicola’s current troubles took years to create, we might give Mr. Nalley more than a year to take care of the problems. I think he is well on his way to doing just that.
I believe in hiring and promoting within the community, except when you need a specific skill set to get the job done right. Valentina, a life-long servant of Apalachicola, has proven herself willing to bring the best people together to serve our community’s needs. A lifetime of service to the people of our town, she inspires others to volunteer and work for the common good. People willing to roll up their sleeves and do the small things needed in a community are the people I want guiding our village into the future. These are some of the people that make Apalachicola the place where all of us choose to live.
Thanks for allowing me to take a small part of your day to express my thoughts but I think it’s time to put away my soapbox and get ready to go vote.
Jerry L. Hurley