Anniston Star Newspaper Archives May 21, 1972 Page 5

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Acton Free Press

May 1, 1958, Page 6

Acton, Ontario, CA

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Anniston Star (Newspaper) - May 21, 1972, Anniston, Alabama F opinion / in depth reports v 5a sunday May 21, 1972 i 117 profile Henry Debardeleben an Ever expanding Job by Judy Johnson Star staff writer if each individual had the Wisdom and ability to live in Complete Harmony with nature. Henry Debardeleben probably would be out of a Job. But the District conservationist with the soil conservation service is very much in a Job a a Job that becomes More varied in its aspects every year. And he loves it. I think we Correct mistakes Man has made with Debardeleben said thoughtfully As he sat in his office surrounded by land ownership maps and soil maps. A Earth was perfect. Man came in and started Clearing and did t protect the land. I be seen some advertising that says you can improve on nature but i done to think you can. Debardeleben a Job for the past 30 years has been basically to control water Runoff in Calhoun county to prevent soil erosion and flooding. At one time when he was just starting. He dealt primarily with individual farms and Farmers striving to control erosion and save soil one farm at a time. Now he deals with watersheds. The Choccolocco Creek watershed for example includes the Creek itself and All its tributaries and the tributaries of those tributaries from the smallest trickle of water Down a slight slope in a rainstorm As it gathers into a tiny Stream feeding a slightly larger Stream which in turn May feed a major tributary to Choccolocco Creek. He deals with erosion and Runoff control which May Start with farm practices used by individual Farmers to prevent too Quick Runoff that carries precious soil particles away he also deals with Gigantic dams forming huge lakes on tributaries of Choccolocco Creek designed to hold Back flood Waters and let them out into the Creek at a less than torrential rate. Listening to him talk one gets the impression that during the 30 years he Aas worked with the soil conservation service in Calhoun county he has gathered the streams Large and Small that make up the Choccolocco Creek watershed in hand one by one. Like reins and brought them under control. He is enthused about his work at the site of a nearly completed watershed dam. His voice warms with his enthusiasm he talks about the project and How it fits with the total watershed picture and the amount of flooding it will prevent. And his enthusiasm is contagious it is contagious even when one knows of the other Side of the picture a the Side that once made Debardeleben s eyes sparkle with anger but now seems to make him More thoughtful than annoyed the criticism that has been levelled at the soil conservation service in recent years for its dams and Stream channelization work i think we be had More criticism in recent Debardeleben said a was Long As we worked individually we did t have any but when you get into something As Large As a watershed you have to make direct decisions then you step on a few toes. Is not intentional but you do. And you have to live with channelization. Debardeleben said is the most controversial work the soil conservation service has Ever undertaken. A some of the criticism is just and some is unjust a he said. A maybe it s a Good thing. Maybe it will make us a Little More aware of these conditions and we will Stop people concerned with ecological problems say channelization work and watershed dams destroy delicate Stream habitats substituting a different set of conditions which life forms which formerly occupied the streams can t tolerate. They say the work is done with the permission of the few landowners whose land happens to Border the streams and who stand to Benefit most whereas the streams Are actually Public property. The soil conservation service and Debardeleben argue that they Are not tampering with nature a Man already has done that they say. Erosion from lands upstream caused by Man s activities have clogged the streams with Silt and channelization and straightening is necessary to unclog them. Whatever individuals May think of the soil conservation service and its work Debardeleben is held by Many to be among the Best soil conservationists in the state. A the s a very conscientious Guy a said county commission chairman Roscoe Simmons a the does his Job real Well and he a always figuring out ways that he can do it even better i understand he s one of the Best in the whole state. He lives his work. Very dedicated. A Wilson Anderson of the county ass office has known Debardeleben since he first came to Calhoun county. A a he a a Good mixer with Anderson said. A the gets along with people mighty Well he thinks enough of this area Here that when he retires he s going to remain Here he loves this area and loves his work. Another person who has known Debardeleben Ever since he first came to the county is a. S Mathews or. County Extension chairman Mathews had been with the county Extension office Here six months when Debardeleben took Over the s a office. A i have always found him to be an outstanding Mathews said a i think he a done an outstanding Job As conservationist Here in the county. He can certainly be called one of the very top in the state. That s not just my opinion but it is shared by everyone including the top Levels of the soil conservation service in the state and besides that he s a Good Guy Debardeleben was bom in White Hall in Lowndes county. His father was a merchant and a Farmer his Mother named Alabama Mother of the year in 1960. Was a housewife and kept boarders at times his family which included one brother and two Sisters lived on a farm. A i thought for awhile i might Debardeleben said a live always wanted to he majored in agricultural education at Auburn a the reason i took agricultural education is that i could teach or go with the Extension service or the soil conservation service in those Days. You did t want to put All your eggs in one Basket. I had offers from All three while i was still in the service but i had Learned about the soil conservation service at Auburn and i decided that Job would fit me better than the others. Quot for awhile after he graduated he returned to his Home to help his father work the farm. A i had some new ideas and came Back and dad had the same old ideas. So i decided i d work awhile and ended up continuing the work. A Debardeleben was trained in Dekalb county for six months before he was assigned to Calhoun county. When he arrived Here in 1943, he was the Only pcs worker in the county. A in those Days. We were planting Kudzu and Block Locust Debardeleben said. A i the More personal Contact with Farmers then. I was in the Field 85 per cent of the time. Now it s just reversed. I m in the office 75 per cent of the Debardeleben has taken the Lead in soil conservation work in the county Ever since he arrived Here. At first he was the Only worker in his office. And As new personnel were assigned they were put under him. Under his supervision the soil conservation work in the county has taken form and he feels the Pride of a Man who can see his accomplishments in their final form on the ground. A when i came to Calhoun county there was a lot of badly eroded soil in the county a a whole lot badly eroded. Now you would have to look hard to find us much. A at first his work still new to area Farmers was largely one of persuasion a you had to make your Debardeleben said. A i told people if you la Plant this pasture. I la help you. If you build this Terrace. Iti help you i had to get Farmers to believe in me. The farm Home administration and the other agricultural agencies Here helped me get my feet on the ground. Quot in those Days Debardeleben s work was largely with individual Farmers drawing up individual farm plans. A we would take other Farmers to see what we had gotten done. We had More Tours in those Days to show what we did. Quot today. Debardeleben s office still works with individual Farmers making farm plans designed to control every possible Grain of soil. But they also work on a larger scale. And their work has branched into other areas. A this morning i be been out on a farm with a Man a we were out there planning a residential area near Oxford. We furnish soil information for beautification drainage soil interpretation material. We furnish that for All Urban subdivisions. We give information for septic tanks residential areas landfills and that Type thing. We work with City and county officials anything connected with the soil. It used to be. Debardeleben said. That if a Man owned Only a couple of acres he did not think of asking the soil conservation service for help a now we re encouraged to work with All the people. That s the reason i can t give As much on site assistance As i used to. But my helpers do. Quot Debardeleben is proud of what his office has accomplished a i feel we re the Best soil observation service in the state. Of course All the others would say the same thing but we strive to be the Best. Whether we do or some plaques on his Wall say he s succeeded pretty Well the local soil conservation workers have won the Goodyear award every time they be been eligible. Once a District has one. The award does not become eligible to it again for five years. But despite his Pride in the visible accomplishments of his office. Debardeleben does not accept full credit that he gives to the soil conservation service supervisors five area landowners who work without pay Quot they re the most dedicated people Debardeleben said. A we have the Good Fortune of having five of the Best Quot Debardeleben feels his Job was tailor made for him. A i am the soil conservation service a he said a someone might say i like Henry Debardeleben. But i Don t like the soil conservation service you can t say that because i am the soil conservation service for 28 years i be been working w Ith it both Are the same but he has time for other things he loves football for example a fall he thinks a Boit is said Simmons a that s the Only thing i can hold against him he s Auburn All the a the s an avid sports Tan Auburn football. I might add said Mathews a like most of us. He has his prejudices when it comes to football. A tit Sav this. He s strictly an Auburn said Anderson. He also likes to Hunt a the first few after Imine of Bird season if you have business with him you d better get it Over with said Mathews a the first few afternoons hell have business somewhere else other than the office and he s Active in Church affairs with irate episcopal Church Debardeleben himself also lists working on his land in the Choccolocco Community among his favorite activities a new Home for the Debardeleben is now under construction there for the past 24 years they have lived on East fifth Street in Anniston the Debardeleben have two sons one of whom has graduated from Auburn and the other of whom is a Sophomore there3 forms of government Likely on june 13 ballot the try of Anniston has been functioning under the Council manager form of government for less than three years at least to per cent of the voters have decided they Don t like it they filed a petition april 19 calling for a change of government election which mayor Clyde pippin has set for june 13 though Legal questions remain it appears Likely there will be three forms of government on the ballot they Are Counci 1-manager, the incumbent form mayor Council available to Anniston under state Law and commission under which Anniston was governed for 29 years before the 1968 election in which Council manager was adopted City attorney Bob Field has requested an attorney general s ruling to resolve conflicts among tour different acts defining forms of City government Field said Friday that his letter is being reviewed by atty. Cen. Bill Baxley s office. But whatever Baxley rules about the legalities of the election and the possible changeover to a new form Early signs Are that the real contest will be Between mayor Council and Council manager forms legislation enabling cities of Anniston s size to adopt the mayor Council form was passed in september sponsor was Hep Hugh Merrill and cosponsors were Hep Don Stewart and Hep Hay Burgess of mayor Council is chosen to replace Council manager. A new Council would be elected within three to Lour months of the june election the terms of the new councilmen would commence Media in in upon their election John f Watkins executive director of the Alabama league of municipalities said some 95 per cent of the cities in Alabama use the mayor Council form of government Anniston is the Only Alabama City Ever to use the True Council manager form. Though some cities use a modified form hiring a manager to assist with administrative duties under the mayor Council form the 1971 edition of a municipal a publication of the International City managers association shows that of 380 cities of Anniston s size in the nation there Are 146. Or 38 5 per cent under the mayor Council form of government. Council manager is the most popular form nationwide governing 195 or 51 5 per cent of the cities of Anniston s size Only 39 of the cities or to per cent Are under the commission form of government. Alabamians traditionally have preferred the mayor Council form of government because they like having the option of voting the mayor out of office if they Don t like his policies. Under on cd manager. The City manager has nearly the same Powers As does the mayor under mayor Council. Removal of the City manager however is one step removed from the voters because Only the City Council can take that action however a City manager can in removed at any time. While a mayor can by voted out Only by a difficult impeachment procedure or at the completion of his term mayor col soil mayor Council is the oldest form of City government built on the National pattern of separation of Powers and checks and balances under the new Law defining it. Mayor Council works like this tile Powers of the City Are vested in the Council it enacts ordinances issues Bonds and warrants. Levies property and License taxes adopts the budget and determines policies. The mayor is head of the City s administrative Branch he is elected independently of the Council and functions independently of them he neither sits nor votes with them a he can appoint and remove City employees but not Board members who Are appointed by the Council he enforces Laws and ordinances prepares the budget and recommends a such actions As he deems the mayor can veto actions by the Council but they can pass measures Over his veto with a four fifths majority. Anni Al salaries under this form Are $22,500 for the mayor. $4.800 for four councilmen and $7,200 for the president of the Council the total yearly Cost to the City is $48,900 a How cities Are a publication of the University of Alabama s Bureau of Public administration. Says the mayor Council form can provide a City with Strong political and administrative leadership but. Says the publication the plan is not infallible a a Bossis has not been entirely rooted it says and. The mayor Council plan a could go no further than to place the Powers Over administration in the hands of the mayor it could not guarantee his ability As an administrator or even his interest in according to the publication also the mayor s political activities May Force his administrative duties into second place especially in Large cities according to the publication there Are Quot Many opportunities for conflict Between the mayor and according to the publication particularly when councilmen Are known to be eyeing the mayor s chair a a government divided by political ambitions and interests is not the same As a government divided on the theoretic principle of sep Ratum of the publication says. Council manager under the Council manager form the Council has Power to appoint and remove the City manager establish administrative departments adopt the budget authorize the issuance of Bonds or warrants and appoint members of boards and commissions. Like the mayor in Mavor Council government the City manager enforces All Laws and ordinances and appoints and removes officers and City employees except those who serve on boards and commissions. He keeps the Council advised about the finances of the City and prepares and submits the City budget to them he recommends a such actions As he May deem a How cities Are organized Quot has High Praise for the Council manager form it a appears to provide the solution to the perplexing problem of bringing democracy and efficiency together the publication says. Council manager Quot substitutes administration of a High order under the steady even flowing competency of the experienced City manager for the erratic periods of Good administration produced by commission or by mayor and Council the publication says the Council has Complete executive and legislative authority but does not participate in City administration the publication says that Point is crucial to the effective operation of the Council manager Lorn a if not fully understood by the Council or if administrative interference is tolerated by the manager the Central concept of Council manager government is destroyed the publication says identifying Council manager s weaknesses the publication says it is not As workable in Large cities where an effective executive needs a Large political base or he will be powerless and in cities of any size the publication says. Council manager is not sufficiently politicized to take the Lead in the formula Tion of Public opinion a common c critic ism of Council manager is that in much Power Falls into one Man s hands councilmen Are forbidden to interfere with City administration. Especially the hiring and firing or direction of City employees or they lose their office in the parallel Between Council manager government and the organization of a Large corporation the citizens Are stockholders. Critics say the citizens Are minority stockholders and their interests Are ignored also criticisms arise that City managers Are outsiders who come in to run local government without having intimate knowledge of the City and its politics in the View of some voters City managers sit Back earn a Tat salary and remain out of touch with the voters needs Anniston s Council manager form costs the City As much As $24 us in salaries half the Cost of salaries Tor mayor Council officials the councilmen earn $3 m yearly except Tor the mayor who receives a maximum $1,000 expense account in addition to the $3u the City manager earns $21 500 the mayor is Only a figurehead elected by the Council to perform ceremonial duties commission under the commission form the voters elect three commissioners one of whom is elected As mayor or chairman he is a full time City officer he has direct supervision Over streets Parks. Public utilities Public health and Public building departments he presides at commission meetings and has general supervision of All City matters one of the commissioners supervises the departments of finance taxation accounting budget and appropriations. The other commissioner is in charge of the Public works department Public safety. Fire. Police and Public affairs in 1969, Anniston s mayor under the commission form earned $15,000 annually and each commissioner earned $6,000. Total Cost to the City was $27 too per year the Appeal of the commission form is in the centralization of All Power and authority the stalemate which can develop Between mayor and Council Are avoided with responsibilities fixed and sufficient authority granted to commissioners. Buck passing is largely avoided weaknesses of the system identified in a How cities Are organized a Are a centralization of Power the commission s strength is also its weakness Fiere Are no checks Over the commissioners except by the Public itself because administrative authority must be divided among several commissioners. A coordinated and balanced administrative policy for the City becomes nearly impossible dissimilar functions May be grouped together under one department to equalize a commissioner s workload and. As under the mayor Council form. There is no guarantee that popularly elected officials will have the knowhow to run a tight City operation Anniston saw an example of the danger in the Lack of checks on City government in revelations four years ago on March 2. 1968 the Star revealed a series of purchasing transactions Between the City of Anniston and four unlicensed firms the transactions amounted to a total of $ in a six month period during 1966 and 1967 the commission form was Defeated in a change of government election in 1968 the incumbent City Council look office sept 2. 1969 Henry Debardeleben with conservation Lake in background ;