In what we hope to chalk up as a simple oversight, the Manchester City Christmas float placed third in Friday’s Christmas Parade float contest. That means a $100 payout to the city – from the city.
Moving forward, the city shouldn’t be allowed to place in the float contest, as has been the policy in the past. The contest awards $500 to the first place winner (Coffee County Sheriff’s Department) and $250 to the second place winner (Manchester Recreation Department Teen Council).
It’s possible the transition to a new administration in August and a new parade organizer could have simply overlooked the detail that during the judging, the city’s float should not be considered for any place or prize money.
Mayor Lonnie Norman indicated Monday that it was a mistake and will be corrected.
“I think from here on we won’t be eligible. I won’t let that happen again,” Norman said Monday when questioned by the Times.
Even though it could be a simple oversight, the thought that the city could place and take $100 is an unfair advantage to the many other floats that spent man-hours and, more than likely, personal money to present the best float possible. All entries paid $30 to ride in the parade. The city’s resources are far deeper to put together a quality float. The city was also the only float carrying Santa Claus, a certain competitive advantage.
To correct its mistake, the mayor’s office should publicly turn the money over to the police department for Christmas angel purchases or donate to the Manchester City School Christmas angel program directly. The next float considered could even take the money.
As of now, the mayor’s office indicated the money would be used for “other Christmas events” such as the city’s Christmas breakfast that’s approaching and other “Christmas events for employees.”
We hope they will reconsider.
Should the City of Manchester be allowed to collect a prize check for a float it entered in the parade it sponsored?