As my term serving as Polk County Supervisor representing District 12 ends, I’ve had some time to reflect on the past two years.
Some of the things I am proudest of are advocating for updating the Polk County groundwater Watershed Study by testing drinking water; this was last done 30 years ago. I encouraged raising the reimbursement rate to County Libraries to 95%, with a goal of 100% so all entities pay their fair share.
Throughout my term I advocated for critical upgrades and maintenance to the Polk County Recycling Center. There was much discussion (sometimes contentious), we reviewed studies, recommendations from staff and heard what the public wanted. After years of indecision the Board finally committed to the Recycling Center’s future and to getting the necessary work done using ARPA funds, to minimize any potential impact to our taxpayers.
I successfully sponsored change to add a standing agenda item for Board members to disclose potential conflicts of interest. This reassures the public that we take seriously the responsibilities of accountability and transparency, especially on financial issues. Recently the Executive Committee recommended this be removed from the rules of order when the new Board takes office.
Serving on the County Board is a worthwhile and rewarding experience. You get to have influence and work with skilled and hard-working staff. You get to learn things about the County you never knew, no matter how many years you’ve lived here. You also get to know your fellow Supervisors and learn what is important to them.
Leadership starts with the tone from the top. And the tone from the top of the County Board is one of disrespect and intimidation. Spinning the facts, misrepresentation of statements and events, and manipulation is OK if certain entities “win.” These are non-partisan offices that some try to make partisan by singling out Supervisors who they view as having political beliefs different that their own. Certain Supervisors and even some citizens are labeled and insulted. Some people love this type of behavior, but this is one of the things wrong with our country today. Watch the County Board and Committee meetings online to get a sense of what I’m referring to.
One of the results of this tone from the top problem is that long-valued, volunteer driven partnerships have disintegrated into lawsuits because people are no longer treated with courtesy or respect. I am referring specifically about issues with first the Stower Trail and now the Fairgrounds.
I’m not sure how to remedy this dysfunction, but without the tone from the top changing, nothing else will. The best way to make those changes are at the ballot box.
In conclusion I want to thank the citizens of the City of Amery for their encouragement and support. Amery has a long history of inspiring leadership, and it’s been my privilege to serve you and all the citizens of Polk County. I’m confident I am leaving you in good hands with my presumed successor, Denise L’Allier Pray. Upon my retirement and family health permitting, I hope to continue serving you, although I’m not sure yet in what capacity. Until then, I’ll look forward to seeing you around town and saying “hello.”
Polk County Supervisor, District 12
Paid political letter