New city board should make Parks appointment

Published 5:00 am Monday, July 2, 2001

When the new Brookhaven Board of Aldermen is sworn in for fouryears of service Tuesday night, one of the jobs facing them will bethe appointment of a new member of the Parks Commission.

If you recall, Bobby Harris was nominated, and by a 4-2 vote,approved for the position at the final meeting of the previousboard. Harris would have replaced Les Bumgarner, who was elected toserve as alderman-at-large.

Mr. Harris’ appointment was vetoed by Mayor Bill Godbold thenext day. The mayor’s reasoning is that he was only following pastcity policy to maintain racial balance on appointments. That policyis that a white person is replaced by another white, and a blackperson is replaced by another black.

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Mr. Harris is black, Mr. Bumgarner is white, so this nominationgoes against city procedure, the mayor said. He requested that anew nomination be made when the aldermen meet again on July 3.

We have no problem with Mr. Harris’ nomination. He previouslyserved on the Parks Commission for 12 years, and, should he berenominated and approved by the new board, should serve again –regardless of his skin color.

Although we don’t agree with the mayor’s reason, we are glad hevetoed this particular nomination.

Our beef is that the old board should not have been making cityappointments in their last meeting. This is a decision that shouldbe made by the new administration.

That’s the real black-and-white of it.