BY JOE B. COATES
So, the current administration of the City of Hazlehurst still approves of the bullying tactics by one of its own board members. How do we know that? Because a more-than-capacity crowd attended last Tuesday’s monthly board meeting expecting the board members–more specifically, Ward 3 Alderman Shirley Sandifer, who was the one recorded inside city hall on May 30 using her position as an elected alderman to attempt to dissuade a city water department worker from filing a sexual harassment claim against the city– and Mayor Henry Banks to bring the issue out in the open. They did not, once again. By his postion, Banks should have – and not just on Tuesday, but a long time ago.
Alderman Sandifer is involved with many youths in the city through a sports league she sponsors. What example does this set for them? Does she allow bullying on her athletic fields?
Mr. Mayor, every day that you sit idly by, hide behind the city’s legal representation and fail to address this action by one of the town’s duly elected and sworn representatives – a person in whom the public has placed their trust to protect the city – is another day that you and your administration condone such bullying tactics.
Why not address this in open meeting, Mr. Mayor, at a time in which residents will actually be able to attend? You had a great chance in front of over 100 concerned citizens at last week’s board meeting, knowing many were attending for that reason.
Leadership sometimes calls for the leader to tackle tough issues head on–and publicly, in the realm of representative republic–instead of, for instance, waiting for the tough issue to be placed on the agenda so an elected board can consider it at the next meeting. Sometimes, you just have to go against the grain.
What Alderman Sandifer did was wrong. That’s not leadership and neither is the failure of Mayor Banks to address the issue on record.