Editorial: Danville residents might look for 'way around' their mayor

November 12, 2003

It's tempting to make a flippant response to Danville Mayor John W.D. Bowling's request Monday that the attorney for the city find a "legal way around" the Kentucky Open Meetings Law.

It's tempting to suggest that the mayor also ask the city's attorney to help his fellow Danvillians find a "way around" having to pay their property taxes or water bills or having to obey the traffic laws.

But that would be making light of something that is really serious business. The mayor may find violating the law amusing, but we do not. Just as Danville residents must pay their taxes or their water bills and obey the traffic laws, the city's "public servants" must obey the laws that govern how they do business - no matter how inconvenient.

Furthermore, Danville residents have good reason to be especially concerned about the city manager hiring process at this particular time. They still have not been told why former city manager Steve Biven was forced to resign his post. His departure was engineered behind closed doors, and the reasons for his removal remain a secret to this day.


It's regrettable that a couple of the applicants for the city manager's job might withdraw if their names are made public, but that's still no reason to break the law, and, frankly, we would question the suitability of any candidate who did not realize that when you apply for a public job your identity might be revealed.

And when will the secret votes stop?

The applicant screening committee now wishes to narrow the field from eight to six by voting on them by number. If that is allowed, will the City Commission then continue to take votes on the hiring of a new manager without revealing the identity of the candidates?

Will the residents of Danville learn nothing about the applicants until the day the commissioners decide that "Number Three" or "Number Two" or "Number One" is our new city manager?

If that happens, the residents of Danville need to be looking for a "way around" having John W.D. Bowling in office for three more years.

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