It’s been an eventful year in Mount Vernon especially in city government. For the most part, there has been too much in fighting, too many seemingly unresolvable conflicts, too many instances of entrenched positions with stubborn reluctance to compromise and far too many lawsuits. Yes, that has all occurred in 2018. Now is the time of year when we can reflect upon the past year and make resolve to make a better New Year. Let us leave behind our contentions as this year fades, and single-mindedly focus on the needs of our residents in the coming year. Let us make an agreement to disagree productively. Let us never forget that we are here to serve the people of Mount Vernon.

Mount Vernon is a blessed community in many ways. It has vocal and passionate residents; Mount Vernonites hold nothing back when expressing their opinions or articulating their needs. People in our community want this city to succeed and have high expectations for its future. They have become increasingly intolerant of the dysfunctional behavior exhibited by their leadership. They expect their leaders to work together to get the peoples’ business done. This is a simple mandate.

As public servants, we are ourselves blessed to have such an active and vocal citizenry. Believe me, this is not the usual situation in our nation, our state, or even our county. The people of Mount Vernon are die hard in their devotion to this special place. That devotion plays out in their love for the Razorbacks and for their commitment to the rebuilding of Memorial Field. But it also plays out in their demand for vital accessible city services: bridge repairs, potholes repair, reduced emergency response times, safe neighborhoods, and regular road maintenance. They also want excellent schools, and productive extracurricular activities for their children.

Mount Vernon represents a strong community in every sense of the word. They will pull together in times of need and in times of crisis. The seasons may change, and the winter descends, the cold will test their patience, but it will also put on display their compassion and genuine concern for their fellow citizens. They will hold coat drives and collect blankets. They will bring hot meals to our elderly citizens. They will open their homes to friends and relatives to keep them warm as the storms rage, literally and figuratively. They will, in short, do what Mount Vernon residents always do: they will take care of their community.

The city of Mount Vernon is a special place by every measure, and despite its troubles, it is held in high esteem by its residents. With its rich and colorful history, Mount Vernon represents more than a collection of commuters who abandon the place by day and hide away at night. Mount Vernon is our home. Wherever else we may go in this world, Mount Vernon will remain our home. Whatever successes we may achieve in our lifetime, our city celebrates as part of the same community that cheered us on during the journey to success. We are proud of each other’s success. It’s what makes Mount Vernon special.

Let us celebrate the wonderful things that have happened for us in 2018. Let us thank the Almighty God for all his favors. Let us pray for those who have suffered loss, those who are in pain, those who seek freedom and those who are without food, shelter or hope. Let us pray for all our elected officials and our leaders that they may govern with fairness, compassion and a willingness to get the job done.

To my fellow City Council members, I truly value our partnership. We have argued with each other, we have celebrated with each other and we have challenged each other. But, despite all this, I know that you sincerely want to do the right thing for the City of Mount Vernon.

To my fellow residents of Mount Vernon, I wish you and your families a healthy, safe, and happy holiday season. May the blessings of this special place be received, as they have been by those of us who have the pleasure of serving you in government. May God grant you all His Blessings.

If you have thoughts or comments about this issue or any other, reach out to me at [email protected].

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