Letter: An apology and explanation from the mayor of Grand Lake
An apology and explanation from the mayor of Grand Lake
I feel that the time has come for me as mayor to address certain issues facing our town. I understand that many citizens are not happy with town governance. Before I address individual issues, I would like to discuss the role of the elected official.
We have an election coming up in the spring and it would be the time for citizens to elect people who you believe will better represent your ideas. For those individuals who are elected, you will be asked to spend hundreds of hours in meetings. You will be asked to make decisions on many issues with which you have little or no expertise. But you must make these decisions. You will do your best, given the information you have. You will make decisions that will not please many of your fellow citizens not to mention some of your good friends. For this, you will receive a lot of criticism and very few pats on the back. That being said, I have found my time trying to be a good elected official to be hard but, ultimately, rewarding and a growing experience.
To the issues.
The last meeting was centered around the municipal fees. They angered many folks. While our action was never meant to hurt people, could we have handled this better? Almost certainly! Were mistakes made? Yes. But no effort was made to hide anything from the public. It was a part of our budget and all our meetings are open to the public. Our job as citizens does not end at the ballot box. It is our job to hold our official’s feet to the fire and keep abreast of all that is going on. It is somewhat disheartening to hold meetings or budget hearings without any public attendance. While I do not speak for the whole board, I will do my best to make sure that nothing like this happens again without more public input.
Regarding the sheriff’s office, there was no attempt to denigrate the office or their commitment to public safety. We were just explaining that our relationship is contractual and the services are spelled out in our contract. We have never, nor will we ever, leave our town without law enforcement. The sheriff is going to be at the next town meeting so I will say no more.
Finally, I would like to apologize to the board, town staff, and to the public for how I handled certain aspects of the last meeting. I do not mind for people to criticize our policies but I will no longer put up with personal attacks directed at the board, or especially the staff. I especially want to apologize to our town manager as he has taken the majority of the personal attacks. To Jim, I highly doubt that any of your detractors could handle a third of the work load we give to you and do it nearly as well. The staff acts on direction from the board and they do their best to follow our leads. While some criticism is expected and some ideas from the public are welcome, personal attacks are totally unnecessary and totally out of order. Will they make mistakes? Of course, but let he who has never made a mistake cast the first stone.
Since becoming mayor, I have tried to make it easier for the public to talk at our meetings. I believe it is a thin line between allowing free flowing speech and reining it in when things get out of hand or too repetitive. I have found in my life that if I let someone talk, they eventually tell me who they truly are. I promise in the future to handle these situations better.
These are strictly my thoughts on the above subjects and I do not attempt to speak for the whole board. If you have opinions on anything that I have said, please address them to me and no one else.
Jim Peterson, mayor of Grand Lake
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