2008-11-08 / Editorials & Letters

'Watchdog' barks back at 'dog warden'

Editor:

Let's discuss some more of the "Dog warden" Duval tales from his Oct. 18 letter.

I have to admit he got one thing right. I did have cause to tell someone to shut up at one of the meetings, but he left out most of the story. The comment was directed to him and I did try to apologize to him after the meeting. But he and his "tag team" father just tried to escalate the incident by trying to provoke a fight. They would not accept any sort of an apology from me.

Here's the rest of the story. The Duval family "tag team" had spent well over the five minute time period grilling Trustee Chorpenning about his purchase of a PA system at Radio Shack for township meetings. Several months earlier he borrowed a similar PA from a Boy Scout group to test at a township hall meeting. Everybody there, including me, thought this system allowed everybody to hear what was going on. He tried it out at the next township meeting and most thought it was good thing to have available. You could hear better; it helped denote who had the floor; and it improved the quality of the meeting tape.

So for two meetings the system was tested and discussed including the price. Our GOB board members also seemed to agree that the cost was acceptable. Plus the fiscal officer (dog warden's wife) was aware of the cost. So why all the grilling when it was bought?

It seems the "tag team" thought the PA system was bought illegally, since there was no formal board vote to buy it. If you review past meeting and inventory records (which I have already done), you will see that all sorts of items have been bought and sold by the GOB's, without any sort of a formal board vote or resolution. Heck, these guys did not even have a formal resolution when they went out and performed a "road improvement" action (see my website www.will-kern.com and read "The Never Ending Story"). So what's different here is Chorpenning's involvement.

So why was Chorpenning being grill. The "tag team" explained later that it was because of ME - that i would have complained about it "being an illegal purchase." RIGHT, at that time I hadn't even started writing my "watchdog" letters.

That night I had several issues to present to the Board. As this verbal barrage went on and on with no end in sight, I raised my hand to speak. Eventually I got the preesident's attention and told them that I had a solution. I would donate the cost of the system out of my pocket. That surprised everyone and ended the lengthy discussion. I asked the fiscal officer how much I should write the check for. It appeared that it was resolved and we could move on with the meeting.

That's when our "incident" took place! The dog warden was sitting right in front of me, between me and the trustees. He turned around and keep on talking to me about the PA system. That's when I told him to "just shut up.... so the meeting can go on!" This lead to another huge flare up by the "tag team" about this "being a free country" and that I had "no right to tell him to shut up" and on and on. There was no mention that he didn't have the floor and that the meeting was moving on. So then he tags me as "getting in his face?" In retrospect, I obviously could have made a different comment and still made my point, but that is what I came up with in the heat of the moment.

The fiscal officer did NOT cash my check. At a subsequent meeting, our GOB's eventually moved to pay for the PA system, in effect refusing my donation! Chorpenning "abstained" and noted that he would not vote on an "after-the-fact" decision. A resident questioned this rejection of my donation and commented that I only made it to get Chorpenning out of trouble…that I only did this to get trustee Chorpenning out of hot water or trouble.... RIGHT! Plus, get this, the GOB's "would have" voted on it earlier but that I had stopped them..... SAY WHAT? Listen to the audio and see how ridiculous that comment was.

Have you ever heard of any township refusing to accept a monetary donation from a resident? Chorpenning eventually got a township donation policy in place, so future residents would not be hassled over their donations. One good thing did happen, I saved a little over $300 of my money that day.

I wish I had this epsiode on a DVD, since an audio tape does not do it justice, but I hadn't started video taping meetings yet.

Will "Watchdog" Kern Bowling Green Township

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