Mount Pleasant, TN City Manager: All Work and No Pray

In Mount Pleasant, Tennessee, new city manager Michelle Williams has pissed off a lot of people with a new policy she’s instituted:

She said it recently came to her attention that the city chaplain was holding a group prayer service several times a week inside city hall.

She said the prayer sessions at city hall were being held three to four times a week and lasted about 40 minutes each. During that time, the employees that took part were getting paid.

That will no longer be the case, effective immediately.

Williams said it’s not the prayer she had a problem with, it’s the fact that the prayer sessions were being done while employees were on the clock.

“It’s just I can’t have all the employees in a prayer session and not taking people’s water and sewer bills,” she said. “Or people who are out working on the sewer and water lines coming in and leaving their jobs for a prayer session, I just can’t run the city that way.”

So no more praying while on the job. If people want to pray, they can do it before or after work. Williams, you see, has this radical idea that there ought to be a separation of church and state. And she believes that city employees should actually work instead of wasting the taxpayers’ time in a chapel.

And before any Bible-thumpers throw insults her way, let it be known that Williams is a Christian who says she prays daily. And privately.

The other city officials aren’t taking the news so well:

City Commissioner Bob Shackelford said praying should be allowed if it is not a nuisance and does not interfere with the employee’s job.

“The city manager would have been better off to let this matter go,” he said. “If the fire department and the police department are okay with it … it seems like an unwise decision to interfere if it’s okay with the department heads.”

Of course it’s interference. You’re praying instead of doing your job.

But you have to love the idea of a new city manager making a policy like that during her second week on the job.

Looks like Mount Pleasant picked the right person for this job.

(Thanks to Daniel for the link)

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