Editorial: Hopewell youth deserve time

The following is an Editorial from the Progress Index.

“A reactivated youth commission needed more consideration

A member of Hopewell’s new youth board created a disturbance at a recent town council meeting and had to be ejected from the meeting. The incident illustrates the problems with how members of this board were appointed — quickly and without due diligence.

They should have been interviewed.

They should have been subject to background checks before appointment.

Council should have been more careful with a board that deals with our youth.

According to the minutes from the August 28, 2017, council meeting, Councilor Janice Denton and Mayor Jackie Shornak both stated neither were able to meet or interview all the selections. Ultimately neither voted for the appointments. Mayor Shornak called the appointments premature.

We agree.

In those same minutes, Councilor Brenda Pelham is on record as stating that council only actually interviewed (potential members) for the School Board, HRHA or a board of that significance. Is a board tasked with dealing with our youth not significant enough to conduct interviews? Wouldn’t those working for and around our youth be the most important board to interview?

We think so

Vice-Mayor Gore, Councilor Holloway and Councilor Zevgolis apparently agreed with Councilor Pelham as the three joined her yes vote to pass the motion to appoint the new youth commission members. Councilor Luman-Bailey was absent from the meeting. The council did conduct background checks for the youth commission selections but only after appointing the board members. One appointee did not pass. Another initially refused the background check but eventually agreed to it.

These are our youth. Seating this board has been undoubtedly difficult. But speed should never supersede precaution, especially with our kids. Inactive for some years, a youth board structure has been in existence for over 20 years. While reactivating the board is a rather recent movement, this rush seems unwise.

These are the individuals volunteering to walk hand-in-hand with our kids. What are their qualifications? Why do they want to do this? We’re entrusting them with our children. Slow down!

•The Progress-Index Editorial Board may be reached at editor@progress-index.com.”

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