New Bedford Mayor Jon MItchell will participate in the U.S. Conference of Mayor's annual meeting in Miami this weekend.  The meeting comes as some on the City Council ponder whether to eliminate the $8 thousand dollar annual membership dues required for Mitchell to continue to belong to the organization.

Mayors from through out the Commonwealth will gather for four days with their counterparts from through out the nation for discussions on such issues as substance abuse, the relationship between municipalities and higher education, the 2020 census, innovation districts and more, according to the conference agenda.  Mitchell will conduct a meeting of the Standing Committee on Energy, which he chairs, and will lead a discussion group on brownfield redevelopment.

A statement from the U.S. Conference of Mayors says, "Despite their geographical location, cities large and small are plagued by many of the same challenges."  The statement continues, "Unlike other elected officials, mayors are often able to find common ground and work in a true spirit of bipartisanship."

The nation's mayors are on the frontlines of many of the issues that have a deep impact on our nation.  Working in a cooperative manner can often lead to solutions to problems and allow these leaders to share success stories from their own jurisdiction.

Eliminating the annual dues that allows New Bedford to participate in such valuable meetings seems petty and shortsighted at best.  We demand that elected officials find solutions to the problems facing our community, whether it be crime, jobs or opioid abuse, and must give them the tools that help to bring about positive change.

Editor's Note: Barry Richard is the afternoon host on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from Noon-3pm. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.