MT. VERNON —
Your newspaper carried a story about Monday’s Rend Lake Conservancy District board meeting in which board member Jim Rippy supposedly insulted the general manager and most of the board members with a statement he had made during a debate about the need for water rate increases.
Frustrated over the board’s insistence on raising water rates when he felt no increase was needed, he simply said in a slightly testy way, “Do we ever consider our customers?” The story also correctly reported, “Other members of the board voiced their disapproval with the comment.”
Now I fail to see how any board member or anyone else could be insulted by his comment. If anyone is so thin skinned to be offended by such an innocuous statement, he or she should not be serving on a public board.
A board is a critical part of any organization. It is a place where individual members come together to establish policy. Each member must be allowed to probe, to challenge, and to question other members. It is in this way that better decisions are made. Moreover, it gives transparency to their actions.
I suspect that some board members were uncomfortable in answering such a question. To avoid it, they feigned to be insulted. This is a common tactic to dodge questions.
There are larger and underlying concerns to this story than whether one is offended by a statement made by a fellow board member, and it was these concerns that prompted Mr. Rippy to ask the simple question, and it is these issues that prompt me to defend Mr. Rippy in this matter.
The underlying concerns go to the fundamental way in which district services (water, recreation and sewer) are financed. I have heard Rippy say it many times, “We raise water rates we don’t need, we levy property taxes we don’t need and we borrow money we don’t need.”
I have had many conversations with Mr. Rippy since we first joined the board in 2005. Although I have not always agreed with him on all issues facing the district, I believe I understand his thoughts in these matters and concur with them. We view district finances in a different way than the general manager and Franklin County board members.
This is the source of his frustration and it is driven by his desire to give something back to our customers and taxpayers. Moreover, it is fueled by the knowledge there is not much that can be done about it with Franklin County controlling the board and on financial issues always voting in a block. Our only hope to prevail in the matters of district finances is to continue to bring pressure on board members by speaking out in public. Hence, this is the reason I write this letter and is the reason for his question, “Do we ever consider our customers?”
MT. VERNON —
- A rare experience Alexandra Petri’s editorial, “What exactly are we seeing in Ferguson” is well written and did something which has increasingly become a rare experience for me. Her article caused me to think!Petri makes the case for media coverage of American events,
- Naive? Simple? I will admit outright that I may be a little naïve and tend to look at things through a simple prism. I received a suggestion for a column with an accompanying article written by By Reed Abelson and Eric Lichtblau concerning the failure of our govern
- Don't pass 'coup clause' with a security waiver It is a sad reality that national security waivers often render human rights laws moot, inviting the government to overuse the loophole to accommodate immediate needs. The “coup clause,” which mandates foreign aid suspension to countries after a mili
- Clinton could end up like Gore Although we’re all still sort of pretending that it remains to be seen whether Hillary Clinton will run for president in 2016, she recently gave the most definitive confirmation she has to date of her impending candidacy. No, she didn’t say the words
- Guru will work for food ‘At the height of its power, the photography company Kodak employed more than 140,000 people and was worth $28 billion dollars. They even invented the first digital camera. But today Kodak is bankrupt, and the new face of digital photography has beco
- Ferguson police fumbled protests From the chief of the police department to the president of the United States, government officials on Thursday promised a different approach to the racially-charged unrest in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. But the situation demands a lot more tha
- A better tax code solution: taxing consumption According to much conventional wisdom, the flap over corporate “tax inversions” is just the latest evidence that the tax code needs a comprehensive overhaul like the one agreed to by congressional leaders and President Reagan in 1986.Whether you cons
- Attacking economic inequality ‘The question is, ‘How do we help people at the bottom rather than thwart people at the top?’” Harvard economics professor Gregory Mankiw, who served as a leading adviser to President George W. Bush and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney,
- Giving it all away Love. Hate. Success. Failure. Talents. Handicaps. Burdens. Color. Music. Differences. They are (contrary to cotton’s claim) the fabric of our lives. Imagine a world where it is all turned off, suppressed in a manufactured semblance of order. There is
- More they learn, less they like Democrats have long believed Obamacare would become more popular once it was fully in place and Americans got a chance to see it up close. So why is Obamacare less popular now than a few months ago? Because it is fully in place and Americans have had
- More Opinion Headlines