Paducah City Commission off to a rough start in the new year

PADUCAH — Just days into the new year, the Paducah City Commission is off to a rough start.

“I just don’t think it’s right to bring something up at the last minute — a surprise — on something that has been in effect for almost two years,” says Commissioner Sandra Wilson.

We’re seeing disagreement and dysfunction among the new Paducah City Commission after its first meeting of the year.

Wilson says Mayor Pro Tem Richard Abraham surprised the commission when he moved to rescind a controversial resolution.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Abraham talked about the Veterans Day Parade resolution passed in 2017. It limits participation only to those who “represent veterans of the United States armed forces under the flag of the United States.”

The resolution sparked controversy after the Sons of The Confederate Veterans said the resolution was crafted to keep them and their right to fly the Confederate flag out of the parade.

Following Tuesday’s commission meeting, Wilson says the commission agreed on “no surprises” during its summit on Saturday. She says Abraham called her a couple of hours before the commission meeting to tell her he would move to retract the Veterans Day Parade Resolution.

She says the short notice did not give commission members adequate time to prepare. Abraham says he mentioned rescinding the resolution because the commission needs to get this right.

Following the first public city commission meeting of 2019, Abraham says he’s still going to tackle a 2017 resolution.

“I’m looking at it and I’m thinking ‘Why do we even have this?'” Abraham id.

Abraham questions the relevance of the Veterans Day Parade Resolution passed in 2017. He says it unintentionally impacted two high school bands at last year’s parade when the schools couldn’t fly their flags.

Abraham’s idea of rescinding the resolution at Tuesday night’s commission meeting is something  Wilson says was brought up last minute.

“To get a call two hours before the meeting that a motion was going to be made to rescind it is somewhat of a surprise when you really don’t have time to make any calls to decide why, and why your decision had changed, and to educate the two new commissioners about that decision,” Wilson said.

Mayor Brandi Harless was not at last night’s meeting, but she says she’s working to uphold the ground rules the commission set at its summit on Saturday.

“I hope that Commissioner Abraham understands why the commission and myself might be upset that this was thrown on the body the first time he got to sit in that chair, and I hope he and I can talk about it, because we need to,” Harless said.

Differences aside — and with the next meeting set for Jan. 22 — Abraham hopes a clear decision lies ahead.

“I mean, this has been kicked around and talked about for a long time, so I’m looking at that, and it’s time to put this resolution to bed,” Abraham said.

City and county leaders will need to work together to make improvements. We spoke with McCracken County’s new judge executive, Craig Clymer. Clymer says disagreements among elected leaders is nothing out of the ordinary.

“We’re going to have disagreements, and one or two of us might think we need to go a different way than three or one of us, you know? And that’s healthy. It’s fine. You just don’t want to get down on a personal level and get your feelings hurt. We’re here to represent the people, and we’re their spokespersons,” Clymer said.

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