Brookhaven mayor: Leaders ‘are called to a higher standard’
Published 1:16 pm Wednesday, October 18, 2023
Brookhaven Mayor Joe C. Cox took a few minutes at the beginning of Tuesday’s Board of Aldermen meeting to remind the City’s leaders that they were “called to a higher standard.”
“I’d like to take this opportunity to make a few comments as we call today’s meeting to order. While reflecting upon our city board meetings, I was reminded of my opening remarks at our first meeting as a new board on July 6, 2021. Because they remain as true today as they were then, allow me to reiterate a few of those remarks,” Cox said.
Over the course of the next few minutes, Cox made several primary points. The first was that meetings should be conducted in an “efficient, productive, and orderly manner.” He said aldermen should cast a vote when a vote is taken, and be able to defend the reasons behind their positions.
He also reminded the board members that they — along with the mayor himself — represent the City around the clock, no matter where they are or what they are doing. They are therefore held to a higher standard — one that includes controlled actions and speaking, level-headed thinking, and treating others with respect.
“In Romans, Paul tells us that every man is given a gift according to the grace of God. If that gift be one of service, may he serve well. As elected officials, we are servants of the people. I trust that each member will serve well while being committed to the betterment of Brookhaven as a whole, as we work together with decorum and wisdom to move our city forward,” Cox read from his 2021 remarks.
“I thought that still applies today, and that it just needed to be said again,” the mayor said. “And I appreciate y’all giving me that time.”
Members of the board listened quietly throughout the mayor’s remarks, and no response was offered.
Mayor Cox’s comments
“Board members should always be aware that actions taken by the City Council must follow ordinances of the City of Brookhaven and statutes of the State of Mississippi.
“In addition, to ensure each meeting is conducted in efficient, productive, and orderly manner, Council meetings are governed by Roberts Rules of Order. It is significant … to remember … that only one subject at a time may be brought before the Council, and only one person may speak at any given time, either when they are called upon by the chair, or after they have raised their hand and been recognized by the chair.
“At this point, you each are aware of the appropriate process of preparing work orders. Keep in mind that you are not to go directly to a department head, employee, or outside contractor to make a request. It is imperative that work orders be completed and submitted for documentation and audit purposes, and for us to know the status of all work orders at any given time.
“It is a privilege and honor to serve the citizens of Brookhaven as elected officials, and I know each board member takes his responsibilities seriously. It is also imperative to remember that your constituents elected you to serve with integrity and strength of character. As such, they often expect each member to take a ‘yea’ or ‘nay’ position on items brought for a vote, while being able to explain the reasons behind it.
“Please remember as elected officials we represent the City of Brookhaven 24 hours a day, seven days a week in both our professional and personal lives. As leaders, we are called to a higher standard, which includes being self-controlled and slow to anger. We must not react out of anger, but instead allow cool, level heads to prevail in our actions and words. We always need to speak to and treat one another, as well as individuals in the gallery, department heads, and guests addressing the council at the podium with respect and in a professional manner, especially in times when differing opinions arise.
“In Romans, Paul tells us that every man is given a gift according to the grace of God. If that gift be one of service, may he serve well. As elected officials, we are servants of the people. I trust that each member will serve well while being committed to the betterment of Brookhaven as a whole, as we work together with decorum and wisdom to move our city forward.”