Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Searching for Some City Ethics

At this point, I suppose we should not be surprised at anything the city would attempt to pull, but, once again, the Oswego City Council and Mayor are attempting to take the moral low road.  In a special meeting held last week, Susan Bringle insisted on voting for her husband in his bid for the city clerk position.  The question of whether she should be allowed to vote shouldn't even be brought up.  Of course, this is a monumental conflict of interest!  Even if legally they can find no reason to stop her voting, the city needs to take the ethical high road and insist she stay out of this.

I personally like Tom.  That isn't the point.  What IS the issue here is that the city, which has been consistently making decisions that the citizens find insane, again and again votes to do whatever it wants, whether it is ethical, moral or makes the best sense for the town. That three of the 6 council members have voted "no" for this city clerk appointment tells me there is something else at stake.

People in town wonder why Carol Eddington isn't being offered the position.  She has years of experience with the city, has served as the community finance officer, has earned her certification as a Master Municipal Clerk (one of only 36 people in Kansas with this certification).  And she was in the running for the job.  Where is her name in this?  Since she undoubtedly knows more than anyone else about the day to day workings of the city, if the job doesn't go to her, will she end up having to do both her current job and much of the clerk's position as well?

A question is being brought up on a consistent basis - "is it time for some recall elections?"

When the city makes it impossible for the citizens to get on the council meeting agenda to ask questions, something is wrong.  The city even refused to allow our librarian speak to them last year, saying they were too busy to learn about the services it offers or about any of the plans for its Centennial celebration.

Something is wrong when three people attended a special meeting last week and they were forced to stand, saying there were no chairs available in the city offices.

When people who have considered moving here are told by countless people that they would NOT recommend them come here at this time - then something is horribly, horribly amiss.

The City of Oswego is currently being run with subterfuge - holding meetings they would rather keep secret, doing as much business as possible in closed sessions and with decisions obviously made before the meetings actually happen.  People we have elected to office are behaving as if the local citizens are simply their's to be reigned over. 

More and more, people are looking back over council decisions of the past months and questioning who is personally gaining from some of the acts that they are taking.

Regardless of whether Tom Bringle is the man for the city clerk position or not,  Susan Bringle should NOT be allowed to vote in that decision and if they allow her to cast the deciding vote, she needs to remove herself from the council. 

It is only the right thing to do.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

There Is A Definite Disconnect in Oswego

What has happened to Oswego?  After being gone for years, I've spent the last 3 mostly in town, volunteering to help the community in any way possible.    I have friends here and it is the town of my roots.  Certainly, my parents felt that if no other place existed in the world, all was well as long as they had Oswego to call home.

But during my return, I've watched a disconnect.  People aren't as vested in the town as they once were.  It is easy to just blame the economy, but events of the past few weeks point directly to a  much deeper problem.  It appears that if people volunteer to help the city, they are rewarded by being ignored or kicked in the teeth.

Take those involved in the Farmer's Market.  Janelle  Goins did what I thought was impossible and raised the funds for the new shelter at Schmoker Park in a month.  Many donated but it is because of her amazing work that the shelter was funded.  Then, Delmar Born Tregar and his crew came in and volunteered to build the facility.  They VOLUNTEERED!  They didn't get paid.   How much do you suspect those services would have cost?

Their thank you for all their work?   The police were sent out to stop all of them as they arrived to set up for the Farmer's Market to insure that, now that their work was completed, they not drive their vehicles on the park property.  Something they have been doing since the beginning of the Market.  Rather than feeling appreciated for their substantial donation to the community, they were left feeling bullied.

And, then there is the case of Bill Cunningham.  After all his hours of work at the park and on the park board - when the park was dedicated, state leaders were invited.  Those who's families helped start the park were invited, but to my knowledge, no one who has put sweat equity into making the park the showplace it is today was invited.  Not Bill, not the park foundation.  I personally donated hour after hour researching the park's history, writing the long long application and working with State representatives to see that the park received a place on the National Historic Registry. I wasn't invited to attend the dedication.

I understand why it is nearly impossible to get good volunteers in Oswego.  Most people don't volunteer for some kind of glory, but a thank you would be appreciated.  Though, somehow this group has managed to find ways of not only ignoring their valuable volunteer base but to demean them through their bullying or by taking them for granted. 

As they say, the slop starts at the top.  The city of Oswego has lost touch with its job, it has lost touch with its citizens.  Oswego citizens need to watch carefully.  Pay attention to what the mayor and city council are doing and make your voices heard.  Hopefully, there is still time to turn this town around for the good.