Letters to the Editor -- October 21, 2011

Fundraising effort a hit, thanks to many

On behave of Prudence Sanders, Mickey Downes and all of our committee members, we would like to thank each and every one of you for everything that was generously offered to us in helping to get the word out about our Dear Prudence Benefit that was held Oct. 8.

Due in part to all of you, it was a great success and we definitely reached goals we had set. We have a great community and we know the support is there, but we witnessed it firsthand through all that you did for this benefit.

Again, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. It takes a village, and the village definitely spoke.

Jacki Johnson
Friends of Prudence

Lions Club grateful for help with event

The Fenwick Island lions Club wishes to extend their heartfelt thanks to all the businesses that helped us have a very successful Longaberger, Vera Bradley, Cash Bingo at the Roxana Fire Hall.

A special thank-you to the Roxana fire department, which was a very gracious host. Also, many thanks to all the businesses in the local area (Fenwick Island, Roxana, Selbyville, South Bethany) who were extremely generous donating food and gift items for the Chinese auction and door prizes.

We would like to thank all the bingo players who supported us and, hopefully, had a very enjoyable evening.

Because of all the help we received, we were able to raise the funds we need to continue our building of handicap ramps, providing glasses to the needy, doing vision screening in the elementary schools, providing scholarships to the Indian River high School, and all the other community projects that Lions Clubs do around the world.

Again I say, thank you, thank you.

Jean Bertram, King Lion
Fenwick Island lions Club

Mitchell weighs in on Ocean View study

I write regarding the recent IPA/University of Delaware study which the Ocean View council had requested to help in its search for a new town manager. The consensus of opinion from the council at the workshop was that it was “disappointed” with the report and it was not “professional.”

Apparently, the town workshop was called on short notice, and only a few citizens were in attendance, and only one person spoke on the issue. Was the intent to “bury the report” because they disagreed with it?

I was shocked by the criticism of this report, when the Town paid $6,000 for a professional study of the Town. The IPA is a very prestigious agency from a very prestigious university. What a waste of taxpayer dollars if they are not going to use it!

The IPA study described the contractual arrangement of the police chief to the mayor as one that makes the chief exempt from the supervision of the town manager, merit personnel policies and pay system. The study found that the effect was “to change the of balance power between the city’s legislative branch (mayor and council) and executive/administrative functions (town manager and staff)” and as one that invites “political influence.”

Historically, the council-manager form of government was developed during the early part of the 20th century as a response to an aversion to party politics or the machine politics of the era. The reform was part of the Progressive Era and sought to introduce professionalism into city government and to exclude politics from the administering of the government.

Ocean View has corrupted the true form of the council-manager government by inviting “political influence,” the very reverse of what the council-manager form was created for.

Thus, the council should implement the IPA report and have the chief report to the town manager as the report suggests.

Some council members believe that business and governments are the same and can be managed in the same way. Funny, I was never taught that in my master’s degree courses in public administration. In fact, if they had been the same, the field of public administration would have never been developed as it did.

Government agencies have special requirements to show, in financial statements and reports, how money is spent, rather than how much profit was earned. Aside from the difference that business corporations have to make a profit, or go bankrupt – in which case they disappear from the scene – governments do not have to make a profit and will continue to exist almost forever.

Governments mainly are about expressing societal values and providing services to citizens. They are quite different from the typical business corporation, which is selling its product to produce income and make its shareholders hopefully rich.

Now, that does not mean that governments do not have to be efficiently run and programs have to be cost-effective. Time and motion studies from the business sector have been also implemented in government. Governments are accountable to the voters and should be run efficiently and programs should be of high quality.

There are other differences, as well. Historically, one had a great deal more liberty working for government than a business corporation. Anti-discrimination laws applied to governments much before it came to exist in corporations. I don’t think that concept of comparable worth exists in corporations where at least they are discussed in governments.

Linking pay and performance in the business sector is automatic, while the government sector has great difficulty implementing this because there is no profit/income linkage. The measurement focus in governmental accounting is on the sources and uses of financial resources. In business enterprise accounting, the focus is on income determination (i.e. net income).

Government furnishes services to all directly or indirectly and levies taxes or provides other revenue measures to meet the cost of those services. Governmental accounting usually has no “net profit” to report. Net worth has an entirely different concept in government than it does in business.

Elected officials must know that good government is produced by competent and dedicated staff, with a competent town manager that can provide that leadership. The time is past when that Jacksonian notion that all citizens are equally qualified to hold any government job was valid. Our next town manager must be a highly trained professional in public administration that can provide that leadership.

I am hoping that this letter will educate our council members and retain the services of the IPA as they had offered for the recruitment of our next town manager.

Perry J. Mitchell
Ocean View

Steele comments on protest movement

It was interesting to see the protesters out again this past Saturday. I read about them in the Oct. 14 Coastal Point.

Two interesting points: Peter Puch said, “there was no agenda to the protest beyond standing united and informing people, we’re voters, and we’re going to be out there voting.” Peter Schott, who said he is a board member at Americans for Democratic Action, said, “And that’s the bottom line: let the people rule, not Wall Street.”

I do not know if Mr. Puch is a member of ADA, but I researched ADA, so I know what Mr. Schott stands for.

Their Web site is “www.adaction.org,” so you can verify the information I am presenting to you in this letter.

When you go to their Web site, the banner lists two areas of interest for me - About and Issues. Under Issues, I found the following: ADA supports Obamacare, wealthiest Americans pay their fair share, LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) equality, same-sex marriage, the unions’ Free Choice Act, prosecute the Bush administration for torture, provide continued and expanded unemployment benefits.

“About” tells me that they are “the most experienced liberal lobbying organization.” I also found links on their Web site to Working Families (www.workingfamiliesparty.org). Wikipedia states that they are, “a coalition of labor parties, Acorn and other community organizations.” All these organizations support “social justice.” Google that, and you will find they are for “a progressive tax system” and “property redistribution,” support for the “Dream Act.”

I have a question for the locals who were out there: Do you know who you are supporting? If you do, then you better find out what their endgame is, because Steven Lerner of SEIU, who is helping organize the OWS, states the “goal is to collapse the current system.” If you do not, please, research the info I am listing here and find out for yourself.

So, when you drive by, instead of honking your horns in support, give them the “thumbs down” sign. And the others who stop by to offer your support, find out who they really are and what they represent. It is not the America that your parents or your grandparents fought to support.

Harry Steele
Bethany Beach

Resident frustrated with Ocean View

Editor’s note: The following letter was addressed to Ocean View Mayor Gordon Wood and was forwarded to the Coastal Point for publication.

At the Ocean View Town Council meeting on Oct. 11, 2011, I spoke during Citizen’s Privilege regarding the IPA study of the Town’s organization.

I was appalled at the rudeness of the Council members during my brief presentation.

Council Members Steffens and Sheeran were speaking to each other while I talked, and obviously were not listening to what I was saying.

Council Member Christ was reading his computer screen and obviously was distracted by what he was reading and then packing up his computer.

Council Member Lawless was packing his materials and also was obviously not listening to what I said. Immediately after I uttered my last word, Mr. Lawless made a motion to adjourn the meeting. It was clear that he was anxious to leave and paid no attention to what I said.

While I recognize that the meeting was a long one, I remained at the meeting until its conclusion and politely listened to all that you and the Council had to say prior to the Citizen’s Privilege.

I waited several hours to make my statement during Citizen’s Privilege because it is a very important issue to me, and should be to the Town Council and the citizens of Ocean View, but also because I am unable to attend the newly scheduled meetings on Oct. 25 and Nov. 1 due to out-of-town commitments and wanted my remarks included in the record on this critical topic.

Mayor Wood, you appeared to be listening to my remarks, but I am very disappointed that you allowed the other members of the Council to clearly ignore what I had to say by their rude and inconsiderate behavior.

Based on remarks they made at the earlier workshop on this project, it is clear that the study did not recommend what they were hoping to hear and instead made a very professional assessment of our Town and the appropriate governing and management structure which does not support the council members’ not-so-hidden agenda for managing the Town following Dr. Gregory’s departure.

The unprofessional behavior of the Council members was so outrageous that several people at the meeting called me during the week to remark on how poorly I was treated.

I am sending a copy of this email to the Coastal Point and the Wave, as I believe that other Ocean View citizens need to know that Citizen’s Privilege is a sham and that the Council only wants to hear from people who share their agenda to mismanage the Town despite receiving credible recommendations that would put the Town on the right track.

Informed citizens are not going to continue to tolerate this mismanagement of our tax funds. They showed by their votes in the last election that they do not like what is happening, and I hope that statements like mine will get their attention so that they voice their concerns and elect a Council that will listen to and make decisions considering what the people have to say, rather than allowing themselves to be manipulated by people who are interested solely in their own ego trips in manipulating the Town Council behind the scenes.

I request that this email be read at the next Council meeting so that those present are put on notice to be wary of inconsiderate and rude behavior from our Council members. If this happens when I am speaking in the future, I will make a remark on the record and hope that the local press will also address the issue.

You promised a regime of civility – I don’t believe I saw that at the last meeting, and you did nothing to ensure civility toward me by your colleagues.

Kathy Vengazo
Ocean View