In this region, there’s really no good excuse for local government representatives to be out of the loop.
City, county and school district bodies meet regularly — some more than once a week. Elected officials attend their own meetings and often each others’ meetings just so the one group can tell the other what they’re up to. On top of that, we have separate “intergovernmental” meetings, so that various entities can formally check in and give feedback where issues overlap. And at least once a year many of the region’s VIPs rub elbows at a weekend-long retreat.
Of course The Mercury reports the contents of these meetings in the paper for those who don’t want to sit through them.
That’s why it seems kind of silly that a Pottawatomie County commissioner this week got so steamed about what he called a “lack of communication” from USD 383 Manhattan-Ogden.
Commissioner Pat Weixelman, feeling that Pott County had been left out of planning for the new Oliver Brown Elementary School, went so far as to use an expletive in a public meeting to describe the communication from the district.
Well, we call B.S. on his indignation.
District officials explained that their usual procedure is to communicate with staff members rather than commissioners, which they had been doing — at least until they lost their main point of contact, county administrator Robert Reece, who retired in January. It’s understandable that there might be a little gap in communication with a change in personnel. The new administrator, Chad Kinsley, now seems to have ironed that out with district officials. (They’ve set a meeting for this week, and the commissioners apparently intend crash it.)
Board members also pointed out that Pott County officials have been invited to, but not attended, some of those intergovernmental meetings where they’ve discussed school plans.
Said Mr. Weixelman on Monday, “Anything that has to do with that new school I want to be part of the conversation.”
We agree with that, but a conversation is a two-way street. Pott County commissioners must do their part to stay informed.