That's not a description of last night's Knox County Council meeting -- but it could be. No, the afore mentioned buzzwords are more of a historical account of the relationship between the Council and Knox County Commissioners.
Throughout the history of Knox County (and well before my time here) it's been well documented the two bodies can't get along. If it's not one trying to strong-arm the other, it's one complaining about how bad the other is. It goes on and on....
This River Road business reeks. It stinks to high heaven with the smell of day old fish.
County Council member Randy Crismore said it best. Essentially his words were it doesn't matter if everyone's ok with it and the land owners paid for it, it still gives off the appearance of wrongdoing and that's an issue.
Listen to this voice cut from Commissioner Larry Holscher.
He freely admits the pavement went down on River Road before a contract was signed because they "didn't have time to have (a public) meeting advertised." That's a problem because the only way the county can use their equipment to work on a private road is under an agreement that road becomes a county road before the work starts. The commissioners would have had to have a public meeting before acquiring property. Strike 1.
County Council President Steve Thais said he hadn't seen a contract at all but simply a memorandum of understanding signed only by the County Auditor. All three commissioners have to sign a contract in order for it to be legal. Commissioner's Attorney Dale Webster said a contract could be written on a napkin and it could still be a legal document according to the state, but it has to be signed by the commissioners. If what Thais says is true, that's strike 2.
Commissioner Donnie Halter said since the work has been done, two lots on River Bluff Road have been bought by high profile people who have intentions of putting expensive homes there. Great. That's awesome; more tax dollars for the county to work with. The commissioners will also be deeded some land behind the county highway garage as payment for the labor and equipment usage. Awesome lets expand the highway department, get them a little more elbow room. They need it. But why not bring this stuff to the council beforehand and get it approved before moving forward? With all of the benefit the commissioners claim to be getting from this, chances are the council would have had no problem signing off on this. Why go behind their backs? Strike 3. You’re out.
The worst part is that the commissioners seem to feel like they don't have to answer to anyone about it. It's this attitude of "we're the executive body, we make the decisions and you should just blindly throw money at us." Well, no. The reason the state of Indiana has two governing bodies for both cities and counties are to create a system of checks and balances.
Elected officials on any level of government should have to answer to the people who elected them: especially on a local level. It's an issue when Halter was refusing to answer the questions of David Shelton, a former commissioners candidate and Knox County Housing Authority official Linda Painter when they bring up legitimate points. It's an issue when Holscher gets backed into a corner and comes back with the playground retort "what about Kurt Coonrod?" (Seriously? You really want to go there? Didn't we fire him?)
The commissioners have to do what they think is best for the people of Knox County. But this doesn't seem to be helping anyone in Knox County except the politicians who tried to make it happen behind the scenes. It's a childish power grab to try and make a point and the county council has every right to make sure this was done legally and by the book.
Jason Tiller is a Staff Reporter for The Original Company. He enjoys coyote hunting and taking naps. He excels at the latter.
Thank You Jason. You are right on ALL 3 Strikes. It's a shame our local newspaper can't report any of the issues or meetings without being bias. They ALWAYS AGREE with the Commissioner's. Which, by the way, think and ACT exactly as you wrote above.
Jason, you are right on with this blog. I was treated very poorly by our elected commissioners for asking question they did not want to answer. They were bullies very unprofessional. You can hear the audio of the meeting on the Take Back Vincennes Facebook Page. It is well worth everyone's time to hear it.