Kent Davis didn’t go away Anniston in a huff or on a whim. Retired U.S. Navy rear admirals don’t go off 1/2-cocked; no longer the best ones, at the least.
Davis resigned nearly a yr in the past as Anniston’s town manager due to lifestyles twists and task alternatives. He agonized over the selection, he’s informed me extra than once. But a Department of Defense possibility in Montgomery turned into too juicy to say no, even though it eliminated his own family from a metropolis he adores.
Today, he’s commissioner of the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs, hand-selected through Gov. Kay Ivey. High on his to-do listing is a campaign to lessen our kingdom’s awful quantity of veteran suicides — the nation’s 15th highest rate. The nation Legislature has created a veterans suicide undertaking force, and Davis has decided on Paulette Risher, a retired U.S. Army preferred with information in psychology, as its chairwoman.
The country wide price of veteran suicides in 2016 was 30.1 consistent with 100,000 people, VA facts say. Alabama’s fee that year changed into 34.2. This is not anything if now not a complete-blown health crisis in our nation.
“I am so thankful to Governor Ivey and our Legislature for spotting the significance and urgency of addressing Veteran suicides among Alabama’s big Veteran population,” Risher stated in a press launch closing week. “It is heartbreaking to think that a service member can risk their existence in the carrier to the state most effective to come home and take their personal life.”
Just as important, there may be each purpose to consider the kingdom’s oft-criticized VA is honest about supporting Alabama’s sizeable roster of veterans.
This is leadership, without drama, minus hubris unfastened of personal or political agendas.
Anniston, take note.
Anniston has excellent humans. Anniston’s City Hall and city staff have desirable human beings. Davis became considered one of them. So turned into former Mayor Vaughn Stewart. And former City Manager Brian Johnson. And former City Manager Jay Johnson. All long past, for a ramification of motives. If some thing, Steven Folks, the Parks and Recreation Department director now serving as an interim city supervisor, exemplifies the entirety properly about this town.
In a sense, he is a Davis clone: retired navy — Army drill sergeant — expert and calm, smart and dedicated, a humble civil servant rather than a seeker of headlines and collector of agendas.
“I’m now not effortlessly distracted. I don’t allow noise or things distract me,” Folks told The Star some weeks in the past. Those, with the aid of the way, are the first-class 12 phrases heard at City Hall in ages.
Some of that “noise” can also arise because he is Anniston’s first black city manager — a large fact given the town’s demographics and its racially divided council.
“It’s no longer about doing what’s black, doing what’s white,” Folks instructed The Star. “It’s doing what’s proper.”
Anniston treats these excellent people poorly. It chews some of them up. It shades their accomplishments and clouds their efforts. It drives some of them away, people who tire of what it method to work on Gurnee Avenue or serve the town’s residents. It allows a handful of local demagogues to dominate court cases and thwart development and sell a litigious environment that’s unnecessary and unfavorable. It’s one of the demoralizing realities of nowadays’s Model City.
Anniston should be better than this.
It may be, sooner or later. I believe this. Not sincerely due to next year’s electoral outcomes — sure, there’s a city election in 2020 — but because of Anniston’s properly human beings. Not black, not white, as Folks said, however proper.
In Sir Bernard Law, Davis’ ascension illustrates what occurs when equipped human beings are hired and vanity doesn’t be successful on Election Day. Good people circulate the needle. Good humans price camaraderie and teamwork. Good humans are selfless, now not egocentric. Good people uplift in place of put down. Good humans apprehend small-town authorities isn’t approximately pummeling rivals and preserving City Hall press meetings.