Archived Story

I have many questions

Published 5:00pm Tuesday, April 8, 2014

(The following is my statement during the County BOC meeting on March 17, 2014. Also, it’s important to note that I was the only Commissioner to voted “no” for the $178,590 to Whitson during the March 3, 2014 BOC meeting.)
Why, during the closed session of February 3, did Attorney Berg give a lengthy explanation about creating a new position–Assistant County Manager or perhaps an enhanced position to be called Deputy County Manager?
Why was it shown how this position, after being created, could be created in such a way that it would only be offered to one person, Marche Pittman, and that it should be filled quickly prior to Whitson’s return (so that Whitson would not have to sign off on this action)?
Why did one member of the Board ask the question–”Can we vote on this new position tonight immediately after closed session “?  Berg said “yes”.  It was only after I stated that this was the first time I had been made aware of this new position was there agreement to wait until the meeting of February 17 to take action.
Why, one week later on February 10, during the closed session held at the library conference room, did the other members of the Board show anger toward me after I revealed I felt it necessary to talk by phone to County Manager Whitson and to discuss with him the proposed Assistant/Deputy Manager position?
Why, again just one week later on February 17 during closed session, after Attorney Berg laid out the issue before us and asked for guidance from the Board, did the other four Commissioners state clearly that they were unwilling to have a discussion in front of me?  Why did they engineer a scheme to take the meeting away from me by having Owens and Berg move to the next room and having one Commissioner at a time join them?  I clearly showed my disagreement with this action by stating my opinion to everyone. I said:  “I will never vote to pay Whitson the proposed settlement money, and that any Commissioner who does should at the same time announce that they never plan to run for elective office in Polk County again”.
I concluded by talking about my concern that if Whitson did not return to his job as county manager, it would be a major negative blow to personnel morale.  Knowing at that point the meeting had been physically moved away from me and that I would be unable to hear what the others had to say and unable to participate with any discussion, I left the room and waited nearby.
Why was the scheme to create a new job for Pittman quickly abandoned and a large payout of money quickly approved for Whitson?
What are the true reasons behind these seemingly senseless actions?
– Ray Gasperson, Green  Creek

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