Ambush governing keeps residents unaware

Published 9:41 am Thursday, February 7, 2013

To the editor:

In the Dec. 28 issue of the Bulletin, Renée McDermott exposed a woeful new method of governing by our county commissioners in her letter to the editor, “Cutting off the sunshine.”

Here’s a quote from that letter:

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“During their very first meeting, commissioners Gage, Owens, Pack and Holbert changed the Commissioners’ Rules of Procedure to make it harder, sometimes impossible, for the public and the lone minority commissioner to have notice of what will be considered at commissioners meetings. These devastating changes were not highlighted or listed in any way. The document had a 2011 date on it, making it look like no changes were made.”

Now, we’re starting to see the results of this kind of ambush governing, and it’s very disturbing. The commissioners recently voted to make animal trapping legal in Polk County after hearing from three people in favor of the change and none opposed to it. That’s because no one who is opposed to it was informed that the issue was on the agenda. We learned about the ambush after the fact, which prompted many objections from the public, including a petition that has garnered 12,000 signatures in one week.

What other decisions are being made without a fair and open discussion? How many signatures will it take before the commissioners listen to those they claim to represent?

-Susan McNabb, Tryon