Unbelievable. That was my reaction when I learned that the East St. Louis City Council had fired the new city manager and hired Alvin Parks at $100,000 a year plus car and medical insurance. The citizens of East St. Louis spoke loudly and clearly when they voted Parks out of office as mayor in April, but it is obvious that the views of the citizens do not matter. The City Council totally ignored their views and the wishes of the new mayor.
There are many factors which have contributed to the deterioration of East St. Louis. Alvin Parks did not cause all of the problems currently plaguing the city. However, he caused some of them, and the $5.5 million deficit now faced by the city in its operating budget can be placed directly at his feet. Can anything be different in the future?
Two old sayings come to mind which are applicable to East St. Louis. First, those who do not learn from the mistakes of the past are bound to repeat them. Second, you cannot help someone until he realizes he needs help and wants it. Sadly, this applies to individuals, families and cities.
As someone who grew up in East St. Louis, I can only say that the citizens there deserve better. Unfortunately, based on this action by the City Council, it is business and politics as usual. That does not bode well for anyone in East St. Louis or the entire metro-east.