City Council: Hope for optimism, hard work ahead

A new era has begun in Parkersburg city government — a new mayor, a new council, a few fresh faces in administrative positions — and there is plenty of optimism.

“I’m excited for a good year,” said second-term councilman J.R. Carpenter, who was chosen as council president. “We have an innovative, exciting council.”

Newcomer, Councilman Bob Mercer said he is also looking forward to the challenges and opportunities the new council will face. “We’re going to have an excellent council,” he said.

And Mayor Tom Joyce said he has been “pleased we could start off with a good relationship,” after thanking council members for meeting with him to share ideas and concerns.

Each person basking in the newness of this week’s ceremonies and meetings must now turn his or her focus to maintaining that sense of optimism and cooperation. The new council must not forget the lessons learned by those whose service has come to an end, nor must they fall prey to factionalism or be baited by social media bullies.

Those elected to office have been given a responsibility to represent their constituents (not those who rant online from somewhere outside Parkersburg), AND to make decisions that will be best for the city as a whole. They must do so with respect for one another, with a mind to stay above the rumor mill and social media fray, and with an effort to find common ground and work together rather than seeking out differences and opportunities to throw wrenches in the works.

Governing is difficult, necessary work. The burden on those who have chosen to serve is not an easy one to bear.

Certainly all of Parkersburg is pulling for this new group of leaders to be successful as they continue to move Parkersburg forward.