The Herald Bulletin

November 29, 2013

Viewpoint: Silence encourages this type of government

By Danny Hayes
Alexandria resident

---- — Here is Madison County’s government year in review:

1. One of 2013 council’s first agenda: Lisa Hobbs, Robin Wagner, John Bostic and Lisa Phillips vote to change start time of meetings from 7 p.m. to 5 p.m.

a: Convenient for council. b: By design, limits citizen attendance. c: Less transparency, no accountability.

2. Call back/rehire employees

3. Will not allow discussion to change start time back to 7 p.m.

a: Council mindset seems to be, we are in charge, it’s “we the government” not, “We the people.”

4. Announce coming vote to reinstate wheel tax.

a: Will allow $ 1.5 million earmarked for roads, part of a balanced budget by 2012 council, to be used for political wish list.

b: Commissioners office manager and sheriff deputy inform me, 76-year-old man, I cannot pass out leaflets opposing wheel tax on the Government Center square and I must go across the street.

c: After ACLU informs and reminds Madison County lawyer of First Amendments rights, I receive a letter stating I would not be arrested distributing the leaflets on Government Center square.

5. Lisa Hobbs, Robin Wagner, John Bostic and Lisa Phillips vote to reinstate wheel tax. David McCartney, Rick Gardner and Buddy Patterson vote against.

a: A tax increase, despite many citizens’ expressed opposition, signed petitions, and an estimated 40 percent of citizens being part time, no benefits, earn less then $18,000/yr, and 50 percent of a senior citizen community income less then $16,000 a year.

6. Starts so-called budget negations.

a: What I saw and heard.

b: Department head presents his/her budget

c: John Bostic “we are giving employees a 3 percent raise and request to cut your budget 10 percent.”

d: My thoughts; this is great, a much deserved raise and paying for it with budgets cuts.

e: Next department head’s reply to budget cut request, “I am giving a true budget, we need the money.”

f: John Bostic replies it’s OK, it’s OK, come ask for it back and we will give it back.

7. John Bostic “I make a motion, since we passed the wheel tax and no longer need the 2012 budgeted $1.5 million for roads, we use it for other items.”

a: Rick Gardner quick to oppose, after debate he motions to keep $1 million for roads.

b: Lisa Hobbs quickly motions to use $1 million

c: Same four voting for the wheel tax votes to approve Lisa Hobbs motion, seems to me these four are a team.

8. Budget approval set for Oct. 30-31

a: My opinion this was by design, Halloween nights when taxpayers will be with children and not at the council meeting.

9. Budget approved

a: I agree with council member when she compares “their hard work to Congress,” a body having 19 percent approval, stated another way, 81 percent no respect and routinely raise taxes and give themselves pay raise.

10. John Bostic motions to give county employees one-time $500 bonus.

a: Rick Gardner and David McCartney being the only two votes against, the motion carries.

To the reader: If this is the type of government you want, remain silent, your continued silence not only allows and permits this type of government, it encourages it. We get what we pay for. Remember you are “we the people.”