It seems to be a new day in Fayetteville. The people have spoken and community leaders are being responsive. Or at least it appears they are being responsive. That’s the feeling we get from the decision by the Fayetteville City Council and the Fayetteville Museum of Art to open dialogue about the placement of the museum in Festival Park.
  That word came after freshman Fayetteville City Councilman Ted Mohn put the subject on the table at a recent city meeting. Mohn, who was not on the council when the land was given to the museum, took to heart the questions and concerns of local residents. He did readership and asked for input. He looked for options and ways to compromise. That’s good government. Then he went a step further and made other city leaders listen. Mohn pushed the issue even though no one else really wanted to listen. He made an argument that couldn’t be ignored. That’s better government.
   The city may have gotten more than it reckoned for in this past election. The freshmen members of the council care more about doing the right thing and serving their constituents than making sure they have a seat on the council. And that’s good government.
    The new members of the council have chosen not to sit back and follow the lead of the older council members. Instead they’ve taken the lead in bringing up important issues for the city and for the council. They come to meetings prepared, having spent a lot of time researching the issues, listening to their constituents and consulting with city staff on issues they may not understand.
   {mosimage} It says a lot when more experienced members ask them what they should look out for in the upcoming meeting. In a recent conversation with Val Applewhite, she explained the process she undertakes to prepare for a meeting: First, she reads everything sent out in the agenda packet. Then she goes back and makes questions about the things she’s unsure of, which results in calls to city staff and the city manager. It takes hours, but she puts in the time, because it was what she was elected for.
    She isn’t alone. Many members of the city council invest more than just the hours in council — they spend time at community meetings, at events and replying to countless emails and phone calls.
These members are breathing a new life into the city council. In fact, it’s a breath of fresh air.


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