By Ed Martin, The Leader Editor
Lemoore City Council approves pay raise for City Manager; that's a good thing

The Lemoore City Council gave its city manager a raise Tuesday night – and that’s a good thing for Lemoore and its citizens. While less than a year on the job, the talented Andi Welsh has helped to bring a sense of stability to local government. She hasn’t done it by herself.

She’s had help from a more diverse, caring council that includes newcomers Ray Madrigal and Jeff Chedester, and veterans Lois Wynne and Eddie Neal.

For a few years there, the city’s foundation appeared somewhat shaky at best as a questionable slate of councilmembers, foisted upon Lemoore’s citizens in the previous 4-6 years, fostered a number of bad decisions which included firing a highly competent city manager, shuttering the city’s planning department, and then hiring an unqualified person to run the city.

Welsh, and a revamped city council, are still coping with unfortunate issues created by the previous administration, but appear determined to solve those issues and continue with efforts to make Lemoore the best it can be – by improving the quality of life for its citizens.

The new administration has relegated the naysayers and the rabble-rousers to the sidelines, and instead seems to be charting a stable course for the city, a vision that includes honest discussions on such important issues as the quality of our water, the expansion of local law enforcement, and managing everybody’s favorite topic: economic development.

It was nearly a unanimous decision. Councilmember Billy Siegel cast the only no vote, citing budgetary concerns. The other councilmembers, with their votes, gave their city manager a big thumbs up, which indicates they like the direction the city has taken since she arrived.

Welsh received a $549-a month pay hike, increasing her annual salary from $128,760 to $135,348.

I encourage all councilmembers to continue this new “renaissance” of ideas and action. I would also encourage the city’s leaders to reverse the disastrous decision in 2013 to dispose of the Planning Department, a questionable decision made despite near unanimous pleas from the public not to get rid of it.

How our city is prepared to welcome the future is important to us all. It’s only appropriate that we plan for it.

Above all I urge our city’s leaders to keep their eyes on the ball, and always do what’s in the best interest of the people of Lemoore.