The story that this newspaper printed last week has, in the words of one of our loyal Hillsboro readers, “stirred the pot” with an eye-opening story about the apparent misuse of public equipment and county inmate trustees who were under the care of the City of Manchester.
Nashville’s WSMV-TV picked up on our story, and we have been peppered with questions about our findings. Channel 4 News seemed to find merit in our piece, as did dozens of readers who voiced their opinions on the matter on our website and social media outlets.
More importantly, we hope the issue has drawn the attention of proper channels who can look further into what we maintain is a broken chain of management, checks-and-balances and accountability of the public’s trust. We did not undertake this story lightly.
Our motivations have been questioned about the political timing of the story’s release. To that, we offer this question: Would the story have been an issue had the mayor and four aldermen not unconstitutionally extended their own terms in office and extra year?
That was an argument we fought and lost. But it was an argument that was never well-reasoned by the other side. Constitutional issues about the term extensions were never vetted properly, and the head-spinning chicanery added a rule to force a seated alderman from his or her post to run for Manchester mayor.
But it happened. Under a guise of consolidating the election cycle – an option the same board passed on a year earlier – five aldermen and the mayor were given a free pass at City Hall without the legal consent of the people. Perhaps the question isn’t about our timing, but the timing of some members of the Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen. One thing is certain, more questions are coming as we continue look into our local government.