As with most of Manning's taxpaying citizens, I expect that the fine points of a weak mayor/strong council form of government was left behind in Civics 101 long ago. However, I would like to offer a suggestion that might be nicely implemented by the city's already published newsletter, Manning Matters, a creation of Mayor Nelson's office.
This is prompted by the ongoing Shaffer saga, which has been a credit to The Sumter Item for the diligence in reporting which the paper has pursued.
However, this situation has already gotten well into the "who is holding a grudge against whom and for what" phase, and simplistic trust-us-we're-doing-what's-best-for-you answers are not going to make FOIA or any other form of citizen protection go away, nor should they.
I would suggest for the public's edification that the mayor's office compile a set of replies to the following questions, publish it in the next issue of Manning Matters, and copy it to The Sumter Item for publication. Ingeniously, the newsletter is distributed along with our monthly water bills, so we're sure to get one.
1. How many committees are in place currently to assist the city administration?
2. How many members does each committee have, and how are they selected, and for how long a term?
3. Why is the mayor serving as a committee member with voting power if she has none before city council except as a tie-breaker?
4. What authority does each committee have, and from whence is it derived, and what enforcement power does it have?
5. Does any standard exist for vetting a potential committeeman's experience to serve, and are they compensated?
6. If the city administration has departments with department heads and staffers, how do these people benefit from the input of committees?
You get the idea. If somebody deserves firing, fine - the citizens deserve to know who said so and why.
LEONARD D. GARNEAU