Our city faced a crisis this last week when a once-in-a-lifetime winter storm left us without water in our homes and ice-covered roads.
Activity in the city ground to a halt. On Wednesday and Thursday of last week, Greenville was a ghost town.
Our citizens huddled in their homes while city officials scrambled to repair a failed water system.
At the lead was Mayor Errick Simmons.
He’s a lawyer and a good leader for our city, but what he isn’t is an infrastructure engineer.
We have often discussed with leading citizens the need for Greenville to either commit to a full-time mayor or a reduction in the responsibilities of a part-time mayor with the addition of a city manager.
We prefer the second option and believe it is time for Greenville to make a concerted effort to change the management of the city.
This is not an indictment of Simmons and his leadership, but of the position as it is created today.
The single greatest challenge facing the City of Greenville leadership is infrastructure.
Instead of relying on part-time elected officials and outside agencies to cobble together a plan to rectify our failing sewers and streets, we need one person with vision and the time to spend.
This form of government is not without precedent in Mississippi, especially in cities of our size. Cities like Picayune, Gautier, Grenada and Pascagoula already employ city managers.
While we don’t know if having a city manager would have prevented the problems from last week’s unprecedented storm, we do know there is a better chance for prevention and recovery from a devastating incident when the leader at the top is a full-time employee focused on one job.