The Herald Bulletin

September 22, 2013

Editorial: Anderson needs Smith, Eicks to collaborate on 2014 budget

The Herald Bulletin

---- — Here we go again.

In a year without elections, politics still rears its ugly head. During budget season, it can get uglier and uglier.

Anderson City Council President David Eicks doesn’t like Mayor Kevin Smith’s budget proposal for the coming year, so he delays a public hearing. Smith, not above playing politics, then accuses Eicks of breaking a state law that dictates the timing of announcements of public hearings.

C’mon, guys! This is serious business, not some game of political football. We’re talking about millions of dollars in taxpayer money and how it will be spent.

Now, Eicks and Smith might argue that this is precisely the point they’re trying to make. They both could contend that they have the best interests of Anderson citizens in mind.

Maybe so. But it sure looks like their main objective is to get their way — and to make the other guy look bad.

Kevin Smith has been a good mayor. He’s a good planner, has a clear vision of what success looks like and goes about his job with earnest, steady effort. But he’s never been very good at collaborating with those who oppose him politically or those who question his strategies and tactics.

David Eicks is a smart guy. Talk to him for 15 minutes, and you’ll be convinced of it. But he can come off as selfish and manipulative, particularly when it comes to working with — or not working with — Smith.

Don’t get us wrong. When it comes to budget time, the mayor and the president of the city council should stand up for what they believe in, what’s best for the city.

But they’ve got to work together, find common ground, negotiate, include each other in formulating the budget. Otherwise, the recent nonsense is a fait accompli.

Come to think of it, the collaborative approach is politics, good politics — as opposed to the sort that Eicks and Smith have been playing.

It’s probably naive to think that the two could set their egos and ambitions aside and work together to formulate the best possible budget to make the best use of taxpayer money and provide the best possible city services.

But that’s what Anderson needs and deserves.

In summary It's budget time, and Mayor Kevin Smith and Anderson City Council President David Eicks are playing politics -- bad politics -- again.