Bad idea in Columbia

A coup: Proposal to suspend council operations pending a new election must be rejected.

January 30, 2001

THE COLUMBIA Council will invite another round of embarrassment if its members agree to throw themselves out of office two months before the next election.

That's just what they'll be doing if they accept the suggestion from several village boards that want to force them into virtual retirement until a new council can be chosen.

The idea arises after the council's failure to choose a new president for the Columbia Association, the governing homeowners' group. Specifically, the council is asked to put its search into abeyance until after the election.

Until its selection process shattered near the end-point, the council did good work, involving the public and professional talent hunters.

Unfortunately, two finalists withdrew, giving various reasons. The remaining candidate was rejected on the theory he wouldn't have enough support to do the job.

Frustration may be understandable now. But the stand down fails of common sense and rationality: Council members were elected to serve specific terms. They have no right whatever to shorten those terms after the fact.

If the council can be dismembered or rendered inert because one group or another disapproves of its performance, matters will fall further toward chaos.

Like it or not, this group was duly elected -- and it may be as well-equipped and well-motivated as any could be to find a qualified new president.

To give in to pockets of discontent would squander the money and time expended for the last half-year to get the best leadership talent Columbia can command. Leadership, to be sure, is sorely needed.

The shutdown would be an expression of laughable and depressing impotence.Every member who favors it should be recalled or defeated at the polls.

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