By JEANNE POLISOTO
On April 16, 2010 a letter was submitted by Minda Rae Amiran, a member of the Chautauqua County League of Women Voters, written by Jessi Luke and Lexi Vega, titled "Why competition in elections is lacking." The two authors cited that running against an incumbent is "daunting."
People in communities that have a slate of unopposed candidates feel "comfortable and familiar" despite that there is no choice.
Many incumbents stay in office unless that person chooses to retire or misdeeds come to light. Basically, this process has earmarks of an appointment rather than any true democratic process. In addition, the two writers had comments from prior candidates of "biased" and "single minded" natures from the local press. This limited perspective does not give the public both sides of the story, lessening the chances of a "valid decision."
Hey, hey, hey! Is that not the current situation occurring in Forestville's melee? This struggle for control in a minor arena in politics has become a black eye of grand proportion for the general public in Forestville.
Outrage, scorn, orchestrated public demands, lack of significant substance (unless readers feel that having unnumbered vouchers means serious trouble) only show a strategy to disrupt and vilify the current board. The board's efforts have been admirable despite an office in disarray, an audit that set goals to remediate prior faulty practices in the clerk's office with deadlines by the state, unearned salary increments for the prior clerk, deputy clerk and streets and water department.
Plus, these over-taxed trustees had to follow through with a water project that had to be on schedule with money received from different funding sources.
Oh, let's not forget that an April budget was due after being elected.
Yes, two people were appointed, but under this kind of pressure, two willing individuals said yes despite efforts by the disgruntled. Their familiarity did provide valuable insight and speediness to the needed work to be completed with deadline demands. Hurray. They kept a sinking ship afloat.
In a prior "The local Government Connection," the editor commented that the governing board's responsibility was to develop public policy, monitor fiscal operations and conduct audits.
With this in mind, the mayor and board reduced taxes by 13 percent, made workers accountable and hired more effective people to do their jobs.
Reducing the number of hours in the streets and water department by 10 hours per week fulfilled a promise made by the mayor and one trustee during the election. Furthermore, the flexibility in workers' hours to a part-time basis cuts expenses and possible benefits, adding more cost savings for the public. How can anyone malign anyone else for being fiscally responsible?
Running a "tight ship" that had been lost at sea has been construed as grounds for resignation for the mayor.
In local law 1, dated 1970, the code of ethics had been described in detail for the village government. It is a mandate for "highest caliber" of officials in office. Needless to say, this changeover from "whatever" in the past, now follows established criteria that recognizes what makes a government one of public trust. To say that right is wrong and wrong is right makes for a disturbing way for decision making. That has happened too long in Forestville.
Any past officials who have been less than "open" and more willing to keep the public in the dark need to go.
That type of behavior betrays and disallows transparency. Misleading the public in the past has been a condition that must stop. Saying one thing that hides the truth does not indicate ethics or a moral foundation either.
No more questionable leaders in government that are self-serving, using indemnification, a legal tool (loophole), to get out of accountability. Yes, taxpayers look out for that, too! Just take a look at the resignation deal for the abusive mayor in California.
Jeanne Polisoto is a Hanover resident.