Grading the First 100 Days in Office, Part 2

Meridian, Miss. Mayor Percy Bland gave his administration an A- for its performance so far in the term he assumed in July.

City council president, Dr. George Thomas, told Newscenter 11 why he believes the council has earned a similar grade.

"I'd give the council an A or an A-. We can always do better," said Thomas. "That's why A, wouldn't say we're an A+."

The city of Meridian has had a front row seat for some of the city council's trials, from pressure and disapproval by some of the public to butting heads with the mayor.

"It takes some time to find out what their role is. The role of the council is budget, expenditures, policy and auditing," said Thomas. "That's our role. Now the role of the administration is to carry out those policies, so when there's a conflict between what we think the policy is and what the administration carries out, that sometimes presents a problem."

But Thomas says conflict simply shows your representative government at work. And he believes the council has done well, despite its obstacles.

"Maybe people did expect that, but to expect a miracle to occur in the first three months, I think is an unrealistic expectation," said Thomas.

He says there has also been plenty of success to warrant that A grade. Internally, he says the new members have done a nice job.

"I think one of the big successes was the involvement of new members on the city council," the council president said. "We have three new members, them adjusting to their role, what it is, what we're going to do."

Externally, the council passed a balanced budget with no tax increase. And Thomas says the council was proud to give the city employees a healthcare provider they wanted.

"I think in the news lately, there's been news about United Healthcare, which one group tried to push. They're having some major problems right now with hospitals and doctors all over the nation," said Thomas. "So those are two big things: a balanced budget with no tax increase and a good insurance program for the city employees."

And the council is still working toward that A+.

"We can always do better," said Thomas. "And we will do better."

You may also grade the performance of the city council and mayor. A poll question is contained in this story and also Grading the First 100 Days, part 1.