Thursday, September 29, 2011

Road Commission Public Comment, Ingham Maintaining Lansing Parks

This the Board of Commissioners meeting was mostly about an item that was not on the agenda!

We spent an hour and a half hearing from folks about the road commission. About 70 people came to the Board meeting to complain about the Road Commission members and to support certain senior members of the staff. We clearly heard one side of the story, and the large number of people was set up by someone. At the end of the meeting, during Commissioner announcements, the issue came up again when a few Commissioners commented on their opinions.

I won’t go into the comments because there were a lot of accusations and innuendo made that don’t really need repeating. The one thing I do want to repeat are the comments that were made by Commissioner Carol Koenig. She said what I was thinking, which is that the County Board of Commissioners has ABSOLUTELY NO POWER in regards to the inner workings of the Road Commission. We appoint the Road Commissioners, and we don’t have appointments up again until the end of next year. We can also remove a road commissioner if there is malfeasance in office. If someone commits a crime or something egregious, we could take action to remove a commissioner. To date, no one has brought us any evidence of malfeasance. As such, under state law, there is nothing that we can do. Complaints can and should be made to the Road Commission members, who are the ones that govern the Road Commission operations. If people want a change in Road Commission members, they can make that request when Road Commission appointments are again considered next year. I honestly feel that all these 70 or so people were tricked a bit because they were told that they should come to the Board of Commissioners to make their comments. Unless it was a media ploy…which I guess is possible.

The actual Board meeting lasted about 20 minutes. There was one resolution that had dissenting votes – the resolution amending the agreement between Ingham County and the City of Lansing for the County to maintain certain City parks (and be compensated by the City). The vote was 12-3, with 3 of the Republicans opposing the resolution (and the 4th being absent). There was no explanation given for the opposition votes. My only assumption, based on what was said in committee, is that the Republicans don’t want the County to assist the City of Lansing even though the County is being fully compensated for all its expenses. This was actually said in committee, when one of the Repubvlican Commissioners said that after the zoo and now this, he didn’t want to keep helping the City of Lansing. That is tremendously disappoinbting to me. This resolution is about regionalism and government efficiency, and the Republicans voted against it because they don’t want to help Lansing. They donb’t want to help the central city of the region, which is nothing but short-sighted. I would have voted for this resolution had it been for Lansing, East Lansing, Leslie or Mason. If we can help any of our local governments and get paid fully for our expenses, then that is just good government. I am disappointed that the Repiublicans didn’t explain themselves at the Board and that they have purposely voted against the resolution because it assists the City of Lansing. Very upsetting.

Well, that’s it for me. I hope everyone has a great week and weekend. And Happy New Year to those of the Jewish faith!

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