Why govern in secret?

Published 10:13am Wednesday, January 2, 2013

To the editor:

I know Renée McDermot. She is an intelligent and well-educated woman who has demonstrated her love for the people of Polk County and our environment with many years of selfless service to both.

However, I must respectfully disagree with her description of the four “BOC” Republicans who just came into office – Gage, Holbert, Owens and Pack.  It isn’t “sunshine” or “government by ambush” to which they aspire.

It is clear to me, and probably many others, they aren’t there to serve the majority of Polk County citizens. Now that they’re in office they will serve only those who agree with their political and personal ideologies.  And that is not a majority of our community.

By their actions they clearly demonstrate their disdain or lack of knowledge of how democratic processes, and the legitimate role and responsibility of its citizens, are to be practiced by both the governing bodies and the governed. They do this by conducting the people’s business in secret with no advance notice of their plans for the county and its citizen’s future. This isn’t democracy in practice. It is a formula for tyranny.

I have the following questions for these elected government employees:

Why should they be afraid to let the people, all of us, know in advance, what rules, ordinances and policies you’re enacting, revising or cancelling? And why it is in the people’s interest to make those changes?

Why do these four men distrust the people, even those who voted for you, not to act in the best interest of the majority? If they disliked government so much why spend so much time, energy and money campaigning for a job with it?

Too many elected members of government, often those men with business experience, operate according to the mantra, “The ends justify the means.” History is full of tyrants who used that same logic to justify their destruction of legitimate governments.

I think the majority of the citizens of Polk County prefer an open and honest government that closes its meeting only in special circumstances as allowed by North Carolina and county laws.

All of these BOC members are paid for their government job by the taxes we all pay, Democrat, Independent and Republican. It is their sworn duty to serve the interests of all Polk County citizens, not a select few.

Those who think their responsibilities are to advance their party’s political agenda, have no business on the BOC.

- Ned Conner, Tryon

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