Burnside mayor made right call in postponing meeting

Jeff Neal

I covered sports for the Commonwealth Journal for nearly two decades and always loved it when local teams excelled.

It certainly made my job more interesting and there was always a buzz around town when one of our teams was a regional or state contender.

As I've said many times before, there's been no greater thrill in my journalism career than seeing the Pulaski County Maroons win the 1986 Boys' Sweet 16.

And although I no longer follow local sports the way I used to, I still want our local teams to have success.

Sports programs at Somerset, Pulaski, Southwestern and Somerset Christian are a great source of pride for us all.

My granddaughter, Maddy Dunn, is a sophomore starter for the Pulaski Lady Maroons basketball team. So obviously my cheering interests these days lie with her and her teammates.

But if they can't win it all, then I become a fan of the other local teams.

During this regional tournament, it was the Southwestern Lady Warriors that most of us were pulling for.

I was thoroughly pleased when coach Stephen Butcher's team won the 12th Region Tournament and advanced to the Sweet 16.

It's an historic time for those young ladies and the Southwestern High School fanbase. It's a time that should be celebrated.

With that in mind, I was a little surprised, quite frankly, to see the controversy that arose over Burnside Mayor Robert Lawson's decision to postpone a city council meeting that was scheduled the very night the Lady Warriors played for the regional title.

Staff writer Christopher Harris reported in Wednesday's edition that at least a couple of city councilors were a little miffed that Lawson didn't give them more notice when he opted to cancel the meeting.

No. 1, the mayor has every right to postpone a regular council meeting when it conflicts with another significant community event. I think this qualifies.

Burnside is Southwestern High country. Those young ladies represent that portion of our great county, along with Nancy and other communities in the southern and western parts of Pulaski.

Why in the world would Burnside hold a city council meeting on the very night athletes from its community are playing in a championship game right here in town? The game was played at the PC gym and I'm sure many people from Burnside were there to cheer on the Lady Warriors.

No. 2, Lawson made the call to postpone the meeting on Monday morning, the day of the scheduled meeting and the 12th Region title game. He couldn't have given council members any more notice, since the Lady Warriors won their semifinal game on Sunday.

I applaud the council members who take their jobs seriously. I understand that important issues are decided by these folks during these meetings. And I certainly understand that councilors schedule vacations during weeks that don't conflict with regularly-scheduled meetings.

But if the postponement caused a problem with an upcoming vote, why not simply communicate with the mayor and ask that the vote be delayed a few weeks?

The fact that this disagreement reared its ugly head in a very public manner during the council meeting where the SWHS girls' team was honored makes the ceremony a little bittersweet.

I'm sure pool tables and entertainment licenses are important -- but this week, in that community, everyone should be rallying around a group of young student-athletes who made us all very proud.

Mayor Lawson made the right call for his community. And I'm sure most people appreciate his gesture of support.

JEFF NEAL is the Editor of the Commonwealth Journal. Contact him at jneal@somerset-kentucky.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jnealCJ.