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Posted: February 6, 2009 12:00 a.m.

Our Thoughts... Community first

 The saga of redecorating the elected official’s office/city of Covington meeting room has finally come to an end, we think.

 We are concerned that Mayor Carter still is not ready to let this issue be over.

 We would point out that Mayor Carter had an excellent idea to redecorate the space because it was outdated. If we are going to entertain prospective business owners in order to entice them to our community, we should have a meeting area that reflects our community’s pride.

 But, her persistent pushing of the issue, despite outcry from the public and uncomfortable feelings expressed by council members, weakened her argument for the expense.

 The mayor apparently, through some kind of loyalty, forgot that as the elected leader of our community, her first responsibility should be to act as the loudest advocate of our community and promoting and support local businesses whenever she can.

 She appointed a friend and client, who has a business in Atlanta, to perform the decorating duties; the price offered by the Atlanta interior decorator was absurd.

 After numerous community protests, she agreed to open up the bidding to local businesses as well.

 A business responded with a price that was more in line with what seemed practical, but this bid was dismissed for reasons we still question.

 The mayor again pushed for her friend. The council, after community criticism, appointed a committee to open the bidding process again. The committee reported to council and presented a bid from a local, established furniture dealer, who presented a lower bid than the Atlanta designer.

 The mayor, in deference to her friend for all practical purposes said that the local bid should not be accepted because the quality of the local furniture dealer’s furniture was inferior and produced outside of the country.

 Wow — this assumption by our lead promoter was met with complete disdain by the business community and the local furniture dealer.

 At last Monday’s meeting, the council voted to accept a low bid from local furniture dealer Sam Ramsey, who is also Covington’s former long-time mayor, to refurbish the office. The mayor seemed surprised the votes went the way they did at the meeting.

 You would think that our mayor would finally accept this decision and move on to other serious issues that are facing our community. She did not.

 At the end of last Monday’s meeting, she made another attempt to include her friend and client in the final bid decision. The council voted to give Susan Dario the opportunity to be involved in decisions on the refurbishing.

 Showing good taste, Susan Dario of Dario and Associates bowed out of the process.

 Madame mayor, we appreciate your loyalty, but your responsibility as an elected official of Covington is to put the businesses and residents of this community first.

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