To The Editor:
We taxpayers are simply amazed at the arrogance and negligence that our local boards and district staff continue to throw in our faces.
First, we had our superintendent cleverly manipulate the board into rewriting a contract he originally asked for (under the threat of leaving). Then we had the fire district board prove to the community that one of their own can steal almost $600,000 because they were simply incompetent at following basic accounting policies they had in place. Now we have the ambulance district paying for board members’ and spouses’ cellphones.
According to Chief Bill Hollo, “We don’t consider this to be an excessive thing.” Well, Bill, your arrogance is amazing, your lack of common sense disappointing, and your position as a steward of our taxpayer money is embarrassing. Guess what, the fire department fiasco started small, with Eric Hinson thinking he “deserved” certain perks because he was contributing so much to the district. In 2005, his fraud (or perks as you may describe them) only amounted to $1,927 and were little things like personal gas for his vehicles. Things that a board could easily convince themselves were justifiable and deserved (like personal cellphones Bill).
It’s ironic, but that seems to be about the amount board member Jennifer Erb’s spouse took from the district and well below the amount the board is generously awarding themselves for personal expenses. Well, Eric thought he deserved more each year and the amount he stole from the fire district ballooned to almost $120,000 in 2007, eventually costing taxpayers almost $600,000.
Common sense should be telling every board member that it is inexcusable to pay for personal expenses unrelated to running the district. It’s just that simple. I don’t know Bill Hollo, but I’m convinced he is not who we want watching over taxpayer money. Bill also is quoted several times as saying, “We” could pay them $200, even $300 or $400 a month or “We” think this is fair consideration. Who does he mean by “We”?
Bill, you do not have the authority to pay the board anything or give them “perks” that are simply personal abuses of taxpayer funds. You are not part of the board and your arrogance will not go over very well in this community. I applaud Jamie Clayton for recognizing proper use of taxpayer money and declining to go along with the rest of the club. Maybe he’d make a good chief.
What’s sad about these different situations is that the amount boards and select administrators are pilfering from taxpayers could be better used to increase teacher, firemen, and ambulance staff pay and real district expenses. Yes, staff, the ones who are actually doing the hard work in their respective districts and who must be sick of this financial abuse by their bosses and board members. Instead, these administrators and board members will hold their hands out for more taxpayer money down the road.
Just watch, the school district is positioning itself right now by potentially spending down reserves that prior boards accumulated. However, in the case of the ambulance district, it will just be one of its hands. The other hand will be busy calling or texting their friends and family on their taxpayer-funded cellphone.
We have got to elect better representatives on these boards; let’s start at the next election.