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Chairperson misses point

September 27, 2010
The Mining Journal

To the Journal Editor:

The county commission chairperson misses the point. First, he refuses to comply with the county board rules of order.

Section IV-2 under Agenda reads as follows: "Prior to the meeting, any items for discussion shall be placed on the agenda at the request of a commissioner or county official. Such requests shall be made by 5 p.m. on the Thursday preceding the meeting. Items not appearing on the published agenda may be added at a meeting under Late Additions upon a majority vote of the board."

Second, the chairperson refuses to comply with Robert's Rules of Order, which states that assembly rules, i.e., all county commissioners, rule as a body. Since the chairperson prepares the agenda, it is his responsibility to notify, in advance, the entire assembly - all of the commissioners - when there are late additions.

It appears the only individuals who knew about the added agenda item in advance of the Aug. 18 meeting were the judges, department heads and supporters of the retire/rehire policy. Charter did not videotape this meeting; the audiotape is faulty. Some of the commissioners have already noted the minutes are often incomplete. The discussion on the document "Co-employer Relationship between County Commissioners and Elected County Officers Information" presented by Commissioner Cihak was not recorded in the Sept. 7 minutes. It was moved to file the document. However, it is not available on the county website for voter review.

The Marquette County Policies and Procedures Manual, dated Jan. 6, 2009, reads: Section 102.1 "The Board of Commissioners, in adopting each year's annual budget, authorizes the number of positions within each department." The manual also indicates that department heads, which include the elected officials, present their requests for employees they wish to hire to the administration, but the county commissioners have final authority.

Section 110.6 states "Former employees of the County of Marquette seeking re-employment shall not receive preferential or prejudicial treatment." The manual makes no reference to the retire/rehire policy.

The voters/taxpayers have the right to question their elected officials and to insist on transparency without being targets of name calling and subject to defensive posturing. The county commission chairperson does not appear to consider transparency a priority.

Expressions of opinion in a public forum are protected by our Constitutional right of freedom of speech. It is not "whining," nor "animosity." Vote for a change on Nov. 2.

John Scram




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