Well, here I sit licking my wounds after what I can only describe as a beat down. Last night the BOS came to the finance committee meeting to face off with one of its members, namely me.
Charlie was first and furious. He started by challenging my characterization of his last outburst at the BOS meeting as a “tirade”. Then he showed me what a tirade really was. Charlie was obviously well prepared for the confrontation. He claimed that all my facts and figures were wrong, which is curious since those figures came from the town employees and officials. He said that I was slandering the auditor. I simply asked if we should hire someone with this much baggage. I was told by Mary that Dan Haynes was the actual auditor that would be doing the audit; then last night she informed me that she was wrong and Mr. Haynes was not assigned to the case. It wasn’t clear to me who will audit our books, but I guess I’ll find out.
Charlie said so much so fast that I can’t remember a lot of what he said. He did say three times that he wanted me to resign and Mary agreed, so I’m pretty sure they don’t want me on the finance committee. YA THINK? They may try to have me removed for cause, although I don’t know what that cause would be. I told them that I have no intention of resigning. However, I don’t think my chances of being reappointed are very good when my term is up; especially since even some of the finance committee members are in agreement with the BOS. I guess it’s time to shoot the messenger.
The main complaint Charlie had was that I write about public information publicly. It is his opinion that we as “public officials” should never speak of what happens in the public meetings outside of the public meeting. For the record Charlie, open meeting is not defined as open only to the people who get off their asses and show up; it means that anything you say can be used against you in the court of public opinion. Words have meaning and you are judged by your words. While it is unfortunate that some people have distorted my words, I am confident that any objective reader will say that my words are fair and accurate to the facts that were quoted at the time the statements were made.
Now let’s get to the real issue, the unaccounted for water fund monies. This boil has been festering for a long time. It has been studied and restudied ad nauseam. The argument has always pitted the users against the non using taxpayers. I simply pointed out the fact that there were tens of thousands of unaccounted for dollars. The way I was castigated at last night’s meeting you would think that I was the person responsible for the unaccounted for funds; not the person exposing the fact that the funds are unaccounted for.
The BOS members, speaking as private citizens, accused me of putting out incorrect numbers. In my defense I am only quoting their numbers. I didn’t write the numbers in the annual report. I didn’t write the numbers in the annual audit. I didn’t read the water meters, or sign the warrants for the water company. I just used the numbers supplied by the people who kept the numbers. What surprises me is that it took this long to discover such a simple problem, that the billing numbers do not line up with the revenue numbers. This problem can’t be solved in a dark room; it has to be brought out into the light. Without transparency this problem will only get worse. We as a town have a problem to solve. Let’s solve it.