By BETSY WHITE
I am troubled by recent articles in your paper and by your editorial "Forestville: Some items not erased" (Aug. 5).
While the editor is quick to criticize those in public service for not doing their jobs as he deems appropriate, he regularly fails to do his jobs, as evidenced in the recent articles about the Forestville Village Board and the "public works supervisor."
A news story should report the facts, not innuendo, and one would expect that reporters would actually check their facts before they make factual statements they cannot support. On Aug. 6, the article "Progress on water in Forestville" starts off in the first paragraph by stating "... and a public works director who doesn't file reports or come to meetings ..." The fact is that no one at the board meeting could or would produce the report.
That, however, does not allow the reporter to jump to the unsupported conclusion that the public works director does not file reports. At the very least, this is poor reporting and the most of it is libel.
Then we have the editorial of Aug. 5, where the editorial states that the highway supervisor "... cannot and will not be accountable in his position and may ultimately not have a job description since it has not been produced." This opinion appears to be based on the fact that you believe no reports are filed and that he won't come to board meetings.
Once again, the fact that those on the board cannot or will not provide a copy of the reports of the "highway supervisor" does not allow the OBSERVER to jump to the conclusion that he does not file his reports. Your statement is accurate that he has not attended meetings, however, your editorial and recent article imply that he is required to attend meetings. The highway supervisor is not an elected official; he is a civil service employee not a salaried employee. And despite the fact he works for a municipal government, he works under the direction of the mayor, the individual who the residents of Forestville elected to manage their local government and to direct the daily work of the village employees.
I am also upset that your lead article about the July 31 Forestville board meeting published right after the meeting dealt with the community upset about the "public supervisor" instead of the news about the water lines as it was finally reported on Aug. 6. Since a major area of the concern for the village resident is the quality of their water and the only way to improve that quality is to replace the old, antiquated and broken water lines running through the village, one would think that this information was really the news the public needed to hear.
Finally, while you and your reporters, and apparently the public, keep harping about the lack of a job description for the "public works supervisor" one is easily obtained by anyone, including editors and reporters of local newspapers, by contacting the Chautauqua County Human Resource Department in Mayville, who acts as the Civil Service office for all local municipalities. I contacted them Monday, Aug. 6, and it took the staff in that office less than three minutes to provide me with the civil service job description for William Bentzoni - whose title, by the way, is working supervisor. But, I can understand why the OBSERVER would not want to actually seek out the facts before printing their articles and editorials - being constrained by the facts makes it difficult to incite the public with innuendo.
Betsy White is a Forestville resident.