2009-10-03 / Editorials & Letters

Writer questions article, editorial on trustees

Editor:

Petty issues and half truths have been brought up in the past weeks addressed to the Walnut Township Trustees. Why do people feel the need to gather together in the parking lot after the meeting to collaborate on what to put in The Beacon? Shouldn’t The Beacon get both sides of a story before printing an article?

Last week’s articles on “he said, she said,” about a contract for the fire department was ridiculous and petty. What is the real agenda behind the article for bashing the Township Trustees?

Why are we not working together for the betterment of the community vs. personal agendas of individuals during an election? We need good communication, honesty, and integrity, to work out issues between the township and the village. Working out issues means compromise and not bashing people in the paper. We need to be able to reason and be peaceful on both sides. Personal attacks do not resolve issues. Sticking to the facts, professionalism and integrity will resolve issues.
George Scranton
Millersport

Editor’s Note: Mr. Scranton asks a number of questions that we’ll address from our prospective. First of all, there was no collaboration in the parking lot or anywhere else about what to put in The Beacon. I stayed in the parking lot first to find out who delivered the contracts on Friday and under what circumstances. Then I heard that Vince Popo was enroute to speak with trustees, so I waited for him. He asked for a private meeting with Trustee Sonny Dupler, so I spoke with him after that short encounter.

The Beacon had BOTH sides of the story. Trustee Wally Gabriel said in their meeting, “We have not seen it (the contract).” The other two trustees and the fiscal officer had an opportunity to make their own comments. They choose to remain silent. We verified after the meeting that copies of the contract had been hand-delivered on Friday to zoning clerk Karen Kentosh. The story is the contract proposal was delivered and for some reason the trustees decided to claim that they hadn’t seen the proposal. Our story was not ‘ridiculous and petty.’ What was really ‘ridiculous and petty’ was how the trustees decided to feign ignorance and/or play word games over a critical contract for EMS/Fire Protection services. There was no agenda behind our story – we simply reported what happened with the contract.

Yes, our editorial did call out the trustees and fiscal officer for their irresponsible behavior. The contract is and should be a defining issue for the upcoming trustees’ election. If the incumbents don’t want to extend 24/7 coverage to Fairfield Beach, then they need to make that decision and explain why before the election. We didn’t expect a decision last Tuesday night, but we certainly expected them to begin the discussion and evaluation. Instead they apparently decided to play games and push any discussion back three weeks to a 9 a.m. meeting.

Scranton’s question – Why are we not working together for the betterment of the community vs. personal agendas of individuals during an election? – is a good one, but it should be addressed to the trustees. They are the ones who took an oath of office and are supposed to be serving township residents. The Village of Millersport didn’t come up with this contract in secret, nor did they spring it on the township. The key details were outlined in The Beacon and multiple copies were hand-delivered before the weekend so trustees would have plenty of time to review it before their Tuesday night meeting.

We agree completely with Scranton that, ‘We need good communication, honesty, and integrity, to work out issues between the township and the village.’ Sometimes ‘working out issues’ does require compromise, but first and foremost it requires an open discussion. The trustees didn’t even take that first step Tuesday night. Their irresponsible behavior prompted our criticism or bashing if you want to call it that. Our criticism was not a personal attack; it was based on their failure to meet their responsibilities as public officials.

We agree with Scranton that, ‘Sticking to the facts, professionalism and integrity will resolve issues.‘ We hope trustees step up in the next four weeks and meet those standards.

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