Wednesday, June 9, 2010

County clerk ignores plea for more accurate minutes.

I guess county clerk Waters wasn't too impressed with my plea for more concise reportage of county meetings in the official minutes:

"Public Participation
Commissioner Derezinski noted Interim Drain Commissioner, Dave Fisher has been
working to resolve issues in the Wolf Lake area.
Interim Drain Commissioner, Dave Fisher, summarized the history and efforts to resolve
current issues.
Jim Riley addressed the Board as part of Public Participation.

"I've included my actual comments below.

Jim Riley to the County board meeting 6-8-2010:

I commend the commissioners in clarifying the rules that would allow for a greater voice from our citizens.
I'm aware that you are only 11 and that we the citizens of Muskegon county are tens of thousands, and that you acknowledge that our county commission is a wiser body when it embraces the input of those who must live and work under the decisions you make.

I would also hope that your interest in citizen involvement would include those citizens who cannot attend these meetings in person and that greater attention to precision in the published minutes is your goal.

And that the recorded record of our county meetings will no longer have the lapses and blank spots that I have been told by the clerk's office, have been common in the past.

I would also hope that all of you would agree the citizen input is not just a positive for our county meetings but also for the future of our county.

That said, I have the county financial report provided by our county commissioners.

You commissioners tell us the county is soon to be out of money. Broke.

You commissioners tell us there have already been many cuts but won't be specific.

You commissioners tell us there is no more fat to cut in the budget.

You commissioners tell us we will see increased taxes or drastic cuts in services. Or both.
I'm told that 85% of the discretionary budged of the county is employee costs and that most of that expense is covered by 6 union contracts.

My understanding is that the union contracts are now being negotiated in secret and are voted to by the commissioners before they are vetted by the very citizens who will pay the costs of those contracts.

If our county is on the brink of economic disaster, doesn't it make sense to involve our community in the 6 decisions that determine 85% of your spending?

My fervent hope is that you will make these most important spending decisions, 85% of our entire budget, open and honest to those Muskegon citizens who will bear the burden of your votes.

Before you lock us into years of union contracts that we never saw before you vote.