04/26/04 — Good vote: Flowers put the county ahead of his political party

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Good vote: Flowers put the county ahead of his political party

Congratulations to Wayne County Commissioner Arnold Flowers. He voted right when the board elected Jack Best to fill the term of Ken Gerrard, who resigned as a commissioner.

Flowers and two other members of the board are Republicans. Best and the other three members are Democrats. The board was evenly split.

Because Best has announced that he would seek election to Gerrard’s seat in November, the Republicans did not want him appointed to fill the partial term. That is understandable. It isn’t that they didn’t like Best; they just felt that running as an incumbent would give him an advantage over a Republican opponent.

But the three Democrats made clear that they weren’t going to yield to the Republicans’ request to appoint a non-candidate.

The law required that if the board could not agree on a candidate, the appointment was to be made by the clerk of court. But the board had 60 days to decide, so it would take that long — until June — for the issue to reach the clerk.

In the meanwhile, the board must turn its attention to one of the most important tasks that it performs each year, developing the next county budget. The fiscal year ends on the last day of June.

It would have been unfortunate indeed if the commissioners had been forced to work on the budget while short-handed. Best, a retired wholesaler who built his family business into a giant operation, has considerable potential in the area of budgeting and spending. His influence could be important.

Flowers reasoned, correctly, that Best was going to be appointed even if all three Republican commissioners voted against him. The clerk of court, Marshall Minchew, is a Democrat and undoubtedly would have selected Best, who had been nominated by the county’s Democratic Executive Committee. But it would have been too late for Best to be involved in the formation of the budget.

By placing the interests of the county ahead of the interest of a political party, Flowers set an example that people in both parties should follow.

Published in Editorials on April 26, 2004 12:50 PM