The hour of opportunity has revealed its gathered power, said James Allen (1864-1912), a British writer.
Being a good public servant is hard work — representing a constituency of myriad interests and political views is not for the faint of heart, even in the best of times. Good governance is about adhering to structures and processes designed to ensure accountability, transparency, responsiveness, rule of law, stability, fairness and broad-based participation. Again, not an easy job.
That notion aside, an oath to serve the people is simply about serving people, and credibility should count. As a county resident and former Shiawassee County commissioner (2017-18), the recent press accounts of a county commission run amok by writing themselves checks using COVID-19 relief funds and federal taxpayer dollars is truly a tipping point and sad day for nearly 70,000 residents.
This breach of oath to public office behind closed doors is clearly distressing. More distressing is the fact the commissioners responsible for this current debacle are the incumbency that keeps getting sent back to office to “serve the public.” The incumbent chairman behaves like a Chicago-style alderman consumed by power: rewarding allies, punishing perceived enemies, and using that authority to undermine good governance structures to the detriment of county residents and employees.
The shenanigans are nothing new. In 2017, after being sworn in, the message to me was loud and clear: Fall in line with the “good-ol’-boys” system or suffer the chairman’s wrath. It was a short stay for me. Their motives and alliances should be examined closely and come election day the voters of this great county should deliver just desserts to each one for this mess. Shiawassee County residents deserve much better.
Former Shiawassee County commissioner