2009-04-11 / Editorials & Letters

Bowling Green 'Watchdog' is back

Editor:

I presented a letter to our GOB Board president regarding the "Park Committee & Stop Loss Audit findings." Basically, it was my swan song, as they say, as far as being a primary voting member of our all-volunteer Park Committee. My resignation had nothing to do with the people on the committee, nor the tasks at hand. These are some really fine folks and this team has laid the foundation for a brighter future. I would like to especially commend Vicky Fogharty's efforts, since she has been the driving force to get tus o where we are today. Had it not been for her leadership and continuing mediation efforts, this team could have easily been history months ago.

My reason for resignation was mainly due to GOB (or should I say KING) Watkins and how he has berated the committee's efforts and accomplishments in public. All the while, he was not communicating what he was doing regarding the scheduling and rental of the community building, as had been agreed upon. His actions and comments put our committee in a very untenable position and even resulted in President Barb Wiseman's request to resign from the committee as well. One good thing GOB Watkins actually did for once was to be man enough to apologize to her after the meeting. As a result she has now changed her mind and has agreed to stay on the committee. But for me, with what I already knew about the disparity in the record keeping department and the results of the past years insurance company's "Stop Loss Audits," the public berating was the last straw. In all likelihood it was my presence on the committee that prompted it. Since we had several alternate members available, I felt it would be best (for the team) if one of these folks moved up to take over my leadership role.

What amazes me about Watkins' deliberately damming public comments is the fact that he, as a 27 + year trustee, still seems to think he is the only one that will do anything for the township. He continually toots his own horn and tries to belittle anyone else (outside of his lynch mob crowd) for doing anything positive for the township. Maybe he has what some call a "Napoleon complex or syndrome", who knows! I don't have space to go into detail about the specifics of what was said, but you can read both Barb Wiseman and my original letter on the township's website

(continued on Page 8) (www.bowlinggreentownship. com) or even listen to the entire Podcast of the meeting.

Let's talk about the community building "slush fund, as I like to call it. The township bought the building around 1994. In my records search, I discovered that it was not until early 2000, when Richard Wright (now Judge Wright) came into office, that the township came up with a simple written rental agreement covering use of this building. From reviewing the "available" public records on the community building rentals, it looks like there are all sorts of holes in the accounting trail for rental receipts. I use "available" to describe the records since they don't extend back to the beginning. Only one person seems to be controlling it, as you might guess, that is GOB Watkins. This was his personal "kudo machine," where he could let some of his chosen folks use the building any time they wanted, while keeping its availability a secret to the rest of the community. After all he had total control over the the calendar and But even as recently as 2007, the most important document - the scheduling calendar - is not available. That's interesting, since it is the only record that specifically documents who rented the building and when. My review of the rental forms has found some to be incomplete and even misleading. It appears that some non-township residents were allowed to rent the building at the lower cost resident rate. This is contrary to the charges indicated on the form and the policy agreed to by the trustees.. I have also been told by several people that Watkins told them the rental fee was handled on a "donation" basis and they had not filled out a rental agreement. It sure looks like he was operating under his own guidelines, picking what to charge and to whom. Basically it is the old "the way we have always done it" routine, so let's not worry about the paperwork or any sort of an auditable trail.

The current Park Committee members have worked hard to see that these practices don't happen again. Now there is a new rental form and procedures that provide full accountability, transparency, and traceability. The building's availability will be advertised and an on-line calendar will be maintained on the website.

I wish the all-volunteer Park Committee well and hope they reach the goals set in their "mission statement". Their meeting notes are also included on the website for anyone to read.

Will "Watchdog" Kern Bowling Green Township

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