Thursday, January 15, 2009

Uncommon Sense and Sensibility

UA Chancellor David Gearhart made it clear today that he's putting Students First by putting the kibosh on a $50,000 investiture ceremony to honor himself and using the funds to establish $1,000 scholarships for freshmen students. “This administration has been driving home the message of putting students first, and this provides us with an opportunity to practice what we are preaching,” he said. “Difficult financial times require difficult decisions on how to use the limited resources we have available. This, however, was an easy decision," Gearhart added, because "we have the opportunity to provide tangible benefit to 50 students – students who otherwise might miss out on an opportunity to earn a college degree."

The same good sense and unselfish approach can be seen at City Hall. On the City Council agenda for next week are several ordinances brought forward by Mayor Lioneld Jordan setting the tone for his administration. One allows him "to be treated as an ordinary city employee for vacation and sick leave purposes." Having watched a previous mayor campaigning for six weeks during office hours and having unlimited vacation time, this is a welcomed change to stop that abuse. Two other ordinances will roll back the salary of the Mayor and City Attorney to last year's levels and freeze the salaries of elected officials making more than $80,000. We are glad to see Jordan keeping his word on a campaign promise and setting an admirable example, especially recalling the huge raises in executive salaries in recent years.

Dr. David Gearhart and Mayor Lioneld Jordan have much in common, and both are proving to be better public servants and more frugal managers than their predecessors. Their bold examples serve as their own inaugural ceremonies, and we can keep the change.

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