No easy matter


In what may be a first time ever, all mayors of Blount County municipalities take office without previous mayoral experience.

One never knows whether to congratulate elected officials or to offer them sympathy. This newspaper does both and wishes mayors and their councils well.

Lured by the possibility of receiving federal grants, most particularly those earmarked for fire protection, hundreds, perhaps thousands, of communities over the country incorporated. Many now find money so scarce they have little business to conduct at council meetings. That money promises to be scarcer yet in the face of Wall Street’s bungling.

Darryl Ray is the new mayor of Oneonta, the county seat and the county’s largest town in terms of population. Gene Armstrong heads Allgood’s council and Randy H. Millwood, Blountsville’s. Larry Longshore takes over at Cleveland; Thelma Smith at Hayden; James Bryson at Highland Lake; Joseph Hughes, Locust Fork; Rickey Box, Nectar; Andy Ellis, Rosa; Tim Kent, Snead; and James B. (Jamie) Brothers, Susan Moore.

The raucous carrying-ons that preceded yesterday’s wet-dry referendum should embarrass the entire county. It exemplifies exactly the kind of behavior town officials and their constituents should resolve not to indulge in. Citizens should couch their requests, suggestions, and criticisms in civil tones and thoughtfully chosen words. For sure, officials should respond in kind. No one benefits from such vituperation as we’ve witnessed here in recent weeks.

Some town officials seem to have fed on animosities and venom. To what avail? Only to stand in the way of their towns’ progress and set one group against another.

One supposes there could never be too much diplomacy, too much courtesy, and too much cooperation, and one could hope our officials will be found exercising them all.