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Letter: Board teaches a poor civic model

To the Editor:

At the July 14 Ellsworth School Board open public meeting, four people registered to speak. Out of approximately 12,000 registered voters and 2,400 in the district that did vote in the last referendum, these figures say volumes about the nature of the relationship between the board and the people.

After having attended over 80 percent of the board meetings during the past seven years, it is my opinion that the board has a sizable public relations problem. At the center of this problem is mutual trust. The board does not trust the public with this unit of their government and the public does not trust the board.

For instance: After having ignored the request for a public address system, this “issue” was revisited. Only when the requester made known he was aware of the 1993 federal American Disability Act requiring government entities to provide impaired persons with the means of accessing and participating in their government, did they respond.

Not responding could result in compliance and a fine. (The board was aware and knowledgeable about the ADA requirements.)

The “issue” was the PA system. The board’s governing “process” in handling this “issue” is the focus of concern. One board response was, “This is in the past, let’s look to the future.” (Impression: Attempt to cover up.)

Eventually, the truth about their governing “process” pertaining to this “issue” did surface. There is only one person involved and weighing the cost/benefits of providing a PA system against the possibility that the requester would give up/or was unaware of the legal requirements, they had chosen to ignore the law.

Results: The board “process” is a concern.

A civic model for our youth?

conclusion: lack of transparency, clarity and parity in the governing “process” breeds such outcomes.

Request: Voters, please decide.

Nick Even

Bay City