Serving city done for love, not ambitions or gain

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 4, 2004

I have been asked why I have remained so quiet to the many criticisms of the last six months regarding the issues facing the city.

As my father once said "I passed a wise man and a fool on the corner arguing, and it was impossible for me to figure which was which!"

To that end I have kept my comments reserved to the Council meetings and to individuals who either spoke to me on the street or contacted me at home.

Email newsletter signup

I am sure that just in writing this, it will spur thoughts from the editorial staff of the newspaper as well as a host of letters from critics, friends and councilmen.

And, one never wins when something is tried in the newspaper.

However, I am now answering it because I believe I owe it to those who have continued to support me.

I am not a candidate for council, mayor or any other office at this time, so my comments are made with no reservation about the consequences.

I know many believe I plan to run for mayor, but trust me, that idea left me several elections ago and I am content in my employment and career as I am presently pursuing it.

Everyone knows that the city of Ironton needs jobs.

The city has lost many jobs over the last 30 years.

For anyone to blame this loss on present city leaders shows ignorance of what has been happening over the last quarter century in cities and towns all across America.

The city fights to find jobs, but citizens should realize many cities are competing for those jobs.

I have served on the council by being elected three times and am presently in my ninth year.

To do this has taken me away from my family and consumed a good deal of time, but I am not complaining, only leading to a further statement.

In that time on the elections in which I ran, seven persons ran for three seats for the first election, four for three seats the second and third times.

It seems that most people don't want the headache or the personal criticism one must endure for doing your best.

And we do all this for the sum of $150 per month, $250 if you are chairman.

Contrary to popular belief there is no retirement or benefits to the position.

Therefore, if you are willing to suggest Council members take a cut for their effort, please also consider placing your name on the ballot and contributing your time to the city as many citizens have done before you.

It is untrue that I do not like Mayor Elam.

As the Mayor he will always get my respect and receive my help when it does not conflict with what I feel is best for all citizens, not just a few.

We will continue to disagree about items before council. Our system as council is a true example of what democracy is about.

My failure to support the $10 fee is just one area in which the Mayor and I disagree.

I not only agree with him on other items, but support him as well, I will continue to work with Mayor Elam on some ordinances and disagree on others.

Jesse Roberts is a lifelong Ironton resident and current City Councilman.

(Editor's note: This is the first of a two-part guest column focusing on city issues.)