On Monday, I finally made it to a Buckeye Lake Council meeting after forgetting to go (probably subconsciously) to the last four. I wasn’t surprised – just a lot of examples of officials not doing their jobs.
The first one was wet t-shirt judge, I mean Mayor, Rick Baker who announced that he is forming a five-person committee to look the fire department over and give him some advice on what to do…or in my words, how to do his job. I highly respect one of his picks – Hebron Mayor Clifford Mason – but I can’t believe he would step in this pile of —-. Someone in the audience how long this process would take, but didn’t get an answer. This means Buckeye Lake Village residents had better hope they stay healthy and avoid accidents. You might want to plot a route to either Hebron or Millersport if your luck runs out. I thank God I live in the Millersport coverage area. I’ve gladly supported their fundraising drives plus Brent Casto is now on the Millersport Fire Department. Peace of mind is a wonderful thing. But I digress
Council member Kaye Hartman asked Baker, “Is the safety committee going to have a hand in this?” After some stammering, the wet t-shirt judge said yes, Clay Carroll has been on that job for a while now. Carroll then says he likes to work with what he has rather than replacing everyone. He has been up at the fire house watching the interactions trying to draw opinions on what can be fixed and bla, bla, bla! I tuned him out as soon as I r ealized he had not included the rest of the safety committee at all in this. There is dissention in the ranks…imagine that? What does that stem from? Maybe lack of leadership? I couldn’t believe he had just insulted a fellow councilmember with no acknowledgment at all. That moment was all about him. It was a defining moment for me. But there were others ahead to go along with it. At one point Assistant Fire Chief Rod Riley got up and asked to address the audience. He then turned around and I think made an attempt at sarcasm. He said something about if you wonder what we all do all day down at the fire house come visit. We drink coffee all day. Then he sat down. My jaw dropped. I love sarcasm as much as anyone but not when it’s about life or death. I rubbed my eyes and forehead trying to think why he had just said that. What was I missing? All around me people were saying “what was that about?” I concluded this was the second defining moment I had witnessed.
I had noticed something about this council from the moment I walked in. Most seemed pretty pissed they had to be there. They were anything but warm and inviting. Kaye Hartman was the only one that acknowledged the turnout, saying she was happy to see new faces at the meeting. The rest did not even look up from their papers. They looked shameful and should have been. But they were also doing their best to look holier than thou but it wasn’t working.
It was about that time I stood up and introduced myself. I told Baker I didn’t understand why he needed a committee to do his job. Turning it over to a committee just means that Buckeye Lake Village residents and visitors are going to have to wait longer for the emergency medical services that they have been paying for years. I told them I meant to be there four meetings ago but rest assured I will not miss another meeting because so much is broken in this little village. While I was speaking, neither Charlene, Rick, Clay nor Jerry lifted their heads. Cricket was missing Monday. There is your sign folks. What’s missing is moral obligation, integrity and respect for the people you swore to serve. This is the very bottom rung of politics. It’s so broken I can’t believe more residents weren’t there. Your faces and voices are needed. Why have you chosen apathy?