November 21, 2002

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Good job, Council

Most editorials, and the people who write them, are more likely to criticize or complain, than praise.

This is not one of those editorials.

Instead, the purpose of this editorial is to commend the good work that Village Council is doing. The Council’s five members — Tony Arnett, Joan Horn, Hazel Latson, George Pitstick and Denise Swinger — have been seated together for a year now and they deserve a pat on the back, not only for their hard work, but also for their teamwork and the way they have approached the difficult job of serving on Council. While we have not agreed with every decision Council has made, we have been impressed with the way these five individuals have worked together during the last year.

They have dramatically changed the tone of Council meetings, which you will notice right away if you go to a meeting (and you should, at least once, while you’re here in Yellow Springs). In recent years, many Council meetings were as uncomfortable and as tedious as a trip to the dentist. Things, however, have changed. Council meetings are now manageable (meetings usually end around 9 p.m.) and not loaded with too many discussion items, allowing Council members to focus their attention on one or two more substantial issues a session. Mr. Arnett, who as president runs the meetings, keeps things moving at a crisp pace while generally allowing people to have their say. When Council members do disagree, they try not to make it personal.

Throughout this year, Council has focused much of its attention on business and economic issues, including support for commercial development, and addressing what it saw as shortfalls in the Village budget. With the Village expecting a decrease in revenue next year, Council’s work this year seems shrewd and prudent. Its agreement with the Miami Township trustees to work together to promote commercial development was a good one, though the effort lacked a clear strategy for what would happen once the agreement was ratified.

Much work still needs to be done, but Council members, over the last 12 months, have shown they have the ability to provide effective leadership and work together to make a difference.

—Robert Mihalek