Former Martin Mayor Thomasine Robinson did the right thing last week, by conceding the election of Sam Howell. Now, Martin’s city government can begin the task of addressing the numerous challenges it faces, without questioning if there could be a sudden change in leadership on the horizon.
While the aftermath of the mayor’s race was a long and dramatic affair, we cannot fault Robinson for exercising all of her legal options in seeking verification of the outcome. In such a close race, it is important to check and double-check the results, to ensure the will of the people has been satisfied. Challenging the vote was not just the best option for Robinson; it was the best option for representative government.
More troubling, however, are allegations regarding some of the actions that took place in the final days of Robinson’s administration. Unpaid bills. Unmet obligations in regard to the city’s troubled wastewater treatment plant. Cancellation of the city’s $1-a-year lease on its community center. City records moved into a dilapidated building without explanation.
All of these actions smack of sour grapes, as Mayor Howell believes. And while we would like to give Robinson the benefit of the doubt and hear her side of the story, she has so far refused to speak with us, and has thus refused to speak to the people she formerly represented. It is unfortunate that Robinson has allowed such a cloud to be cast over the legacy of what was a long and in many ways successful tenure at the helm of Martin government, by refusing to set the record straight.
But those matters are now in the past. All of those matters are now in the rear-view mirror, and Martin’s future requires city leaders to focus their attention on the road ahead.
It is now up to Howell and the Martin City Council to move forward to correct what deficiencies they can. At the top of the list should be a concerted effort to right Martin’s listing fiscal ship.
— The Floyd County Times