A Little Civility Goes a Long Way
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“You need to get your head out of your ass…”
This comment was made City Police Officer and Bicknell City Councilman Terry Stremming to Mayor Jon Flickenger during a heated exchange at the Bicknell Board of Works meeting a couple days ago.
Apparently the Mayor and a few city police officers are at odds over a recent hire. Something about hiring an older person to work in one department when the police department is understaffed and had a candidate picked out who was really well qualified. The details are a little fuzzy because the issue wasn’t actually addressed; there was just a lot of screaming and finger pointing.
This is not new. Tensions between Stremming and the mayor have boiled over so many times about so many things over the last two years it would be impossible to count. If the city wasn’t in such a financial crunch, it would almost be worth it to hire a full time referee.
Nothing ever comes of these arguments. It’s just a lot of finger pointing. The truth is that Bicknell’s city government is a mess and there’s plenty of blame to go around for all administrations current and former.
And this is how it goes. There’s no common courtesy extended to anyone, no benefit of the doubt, no accountability and seemingly no desire to fix it. The loudest council members seem to be content to sit back and tell the Mayor he doesn’t do his job while not doing their jobs.
Every meeting seems to always be on the brink of being out of control. Meetings go on for seemingly an eternity because city employees and residents alike seem to enjoy airing dirty laundry out. One city council member left before the council meeting this past Monday because the Board of Works meeting went 40 minutes past the start time of the City Council meeting.
The BOW meeting was also the first for new members Max Nickless and Steve Volling. Welcome aboard gentlemen.
The saving grace of the Bicknell City Government is Clerk-Treasurer Becky McGlone and Deputy Clerk-Treasurer Karen Fox. If it weren’t for those two Bicknell would probably up the proverbial river of excrement without a paddle.
The rest of the elected officials need to get on the same page. Have an executive session and work some of this stuff out. Put aside your personal differences and remember that everything you do (or don’t do) has a direct effect on the people who elected you. Stop the bickering and finger pointing. Remember that if you don’t like something, you have the platform to try and change it. It’s not rocket science.
And if you can’t get the votes to change something, you can’t. There’s no use crying over spilled milk. Try again at some point or let it go. This is government. Democrats in Chicago have to live with the fact there’s now a concealed carry law in Illinois. Republicans in the federal government have to live with the fact Obamacare is the law of the land. You can’t always get what you want.
Just make sure your constituents have what they need.
Jason Tiller is a news reporter for The Original Company. He can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.