Tonight, the first meeting of the charter review commission was marred by yet another failure of Mayor Ella Jones. Her appointee to the commission, Amanda Canaday, was not eligible for appointment to any city commission, because she was two years delinquent on personal property taxes.
The failure here was first on the part of Ms. Jones, who had the responsibility to vet her nominee before submitting it to the city. And second, city clerk Octavia Pittman, who ought to confirm the eligibility of each nominee.
Sadly, this is not the first failure in this regard. In recent months, we’ve had the spectacle not only of candidates who had unpaid taxes, but in one instance, the nomination and confirmation of a board member who wasn’t even a city resident.
It is not unreasonable to expect that the elected officials to whom we entrust the spending of millions of dollars, and the legislation of each and every policy which governs our city, would be able to handle such a trivial matter as looking up the tax status of a prospective nominee on the county’s public website, and ensuring that the nominee’s address is in fact in the city. The ongoing failure of some on council to handle such a simple responsibility ought to cause concern about their judgment on more complex and weighty matters. “He who is faithful in a very little thing is also faithful in much; and he who is dishonest in a very little thing is also dishonest in much.”
We have heard that after tonight’s meeting, Canaday paid her personal property taxes, and intends to remain on the commission. Good for her. Unfortunately, her failure to conform with a charter provision which is common knowledge, and the failures of others to check her qualifications, placed her follow commissioner Sara Holmes in an unfortunate position. It should not fall to a fellow commission member to do the job of the mayor and city clerk. The ongoing failure of some council members to be diligent in this very little thing illustrates a carelessness which surely carries over to the more weighty matters with which they are charged.