Congratulations to the three new City Council members in Hughson and to the whole community, which has been rightfully embarrassed by the circus atmosphere of its council meetings over the last year.
A little more than 1,100 citizens participated in Tuesday's recall, a respectable 37 percent turnout. And their message was strong, with more than 85 percent voting to oust Councilmen Thom Crowder, Doug Humphreys and Ben Manley, the last of whom resigned just a couple of weeks earlier.
The results reflect a clear mandate. The three people elected to replace them — George Carr, Jeramy Young and Jill Silva — also had lopsided wins, giving them credibility as they assume office.
The turnover is only the start, however, because there are challenges ahead. Nearly two months into the fiscal year, Hughson doesn't even have a firm budget in place. That has to be a high priority, along with hiring an effective city manager to oversee the daily operations.
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One source of the problems in Hughson was that some of the council members were too hands-on, basically intruding into the job of the city manager. That's especially tempting in small cities. But Hughson has a city manager form of government, which means that the council members are responsible for policies, budget oversight and direction — not for micromanaging city employees.
No one should expect these new council members to know all there is to know about city government, especially the complicated areas of finance and planning. So our advice to the new council members: Ask questions, lots of questions, of staff, of each other and of people with experience and expertise in other cities. Expect some disagreements within your five-member council and establish the practice of working them out respectfully, without name-calling.
And our advice to the residents of Hughson: Stay involved. Keep attending council meetings and asking questions yourselves. Your work isn't finished either.