Our Opinion: City council should serve and protect employee

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 7, 2008

The city of Demopolis looked on the verge of an embarrassing blunder when Mayor Cecil P. Williamson broached the subject of terminating Public Safety Director Jeff Manuel prior to Manuel&8217;s effective resignation date.

The reported excuse? &8220;That&8217;s how big business operates.&8221;

That&8217;s not true &8212; especially not when someone has given several years of his life to a position as Manuel has. And even if that were true, since when is the city of Demopolis a for-profit operation?

Email newsletter signup

Whether she meant it to or not, Williamson&8217;s attempt to push Manuel out the door makes it look like she&8217;s attempting to rid herself of a political enemy.

The city council must assert itself in this instance and stand up for a man who has served this city proudly and well.

Manuel has done those things &8212; and he has earned the right to leave in a respectful manner. While it is certainly reasonable for the city to be fiscally responsible, Manuel needs to be allowed to work out his notice with the city in order to assure as smooth a transition as possible with his successor.

The city must be cautious in the way it treats as high-profile an employee as Manuel. All eyes are on the council right now, wondering if that group will choose to do the right thing.

Our thoughts go back to the old omen, &8220;Treat others as you would like to be treated.&8221;