What happened to promises of cooperation and respect?

Published 6:58 pm Tuesday, January 8, 2013

To the editor:

Citizens of all political persuasions have said, time after time, that they want to see cooperation among the members of the Polk County Board of Commissioners (BOC).

Commissioner [Michael] Gage, in particular, repeatedly said in campaign promises that he wanted to work together, respectfully, with the other commissioners.

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How long did that campaign promise last? Not even one meeting.

At the first meeting of the BOC, with its new majority, minority commissioner Ray Gasperson, the sole Democrat remaining on the board, reasonably requested that commissioners be able to bring an agenda item to the floor for discussion and citizen comment with only a motion, without the need for a second from another commissioner.

According to the “Suggested Rules of Procedure for the Board of County Commissioners,” published by the North Carolina School of Government at UNC Chapel Hill, “a motion shall not require a second,” page 14. Not requiring a second has also been the rule of the Polk County BOC in the past, though not in the recent past when there have always been at least two members of each political party on the board who could provide a friendly second when needed.

In spite of the School of Government’s recommendation, and contrary to their very recent campaign promises, all four of the majority commissioners declared that a second shall be required to bring an agenda item to the floor for discussion, debate or citizen comment.

In doing so, the four Republicans made themselves the sole gatekeepers for issues to be considered by Polk County government and its citizens. No working together across party lines, and being able to shut out everyone else except those with whom they agree.

It’s a bad start for this new majority, but it’s a clear showing of their true colors.

– Renée McDermott,