The cart before the horse

The New Albany Board of Aldermen has gotten the cart before the horse in hiring a $50,000 director of marketing for the city.

The board has hired Sean Johnson, who works with the Tupelo Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, for a new job that will oversee tourism and marketing.
We don’t know Mr. Johnson personally and our opinion about the city’s action has nothing to do with his qualifications or whether we think he will be an asset to the city.
Instead we quarrel with the secretive way the city has gone about it. Nearly a year ago the board named a seven-person committee to develop a comprehensive, long-term plan for tourism and promoting tourism.
On the committee are Joe Marshall Davis, Betsey Hamilton, Lynn West, Mike Staten, Phil Nanney, Amanda Kent and Mary Jennifer Russell.
The committee has worked extensively, researched what is working in other cities and is close to submitting its report to the city. The report was to include a proposed structure for tourism and marketing the city.
Instead of awaiting the report, creating a structure, setting qualifications and seeking qualified applicants, the board had a non-publicized called meeting Thursday and hired Mr. Johnson.
The board’s dismissive way of dealing with the public-spirited citizens who gave their time to serve on the committee defies common sense. The committee was not even notified of the board’s plan.
It’s the wrong way to do things. Citizens of New Albany deserve better from their public officials.