The Jonesboro City Council has begun the 2007 year with some newly elected aldermen and one open position that will be filled in the coming weeks. The process to fill the open seat seems too simplified in our opinion with minimal requirements... candidates need to secure only 30 signatures and write an essay... for example. Is this British Lit or an an important elected governmental position. Hopefully we'll have some qualified candidates apply for the position. We look forward to reading their essays.
While we're discussing the City Council, it is now time to begin the process to convert to a ward system of government. The topic was discussed earlier this year, but it appears that was merely an effort to pay lip service to the proposed changes.
The next council elections will be held in November, 2008. The conversion process needs to begin now so that the system can be in place and fully understood by the time candidates file to run for office. We recommend a hybrid-ward system to ensure all areas of the city are represented without creating a situation where you develop turf wars as we have seen when cities have an exclusive ward based government is in place.
The hybrid system is no different than the way we elect our leaders in Congress. Representatives serve from various areas of the state while Senators represent the state as a whole. It's worked in Washington so surely we could make it work right here in Jonesboro.
It's time to do the right thing city council members... begin working to implement the changes now. It will take a little while to develop and may even require that some ward boundaries are redrawn, but with a growing city like Jonesboro and shifting population base, reviewing the territory should be an expected requirement as part of the evolution. And while you're at it... come up with a better plan to fill open council seats. The current requirements are insufficient.