Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Letterhead

"Am I angry? I was not at first, just curious. However after seeing how it was handled, I am more than angry, I am pissed!"

Relax folks. This is not some novella like would be penned by Nicholas Sparks. No, this is about something we all need to be concerned about. And I will use this letterhead story as an example to how vigilant we the taxpayers all need to be. And yes, the letterhead story is true. Honest to Pete true.

As many know, we just had a special primary in a neighboring senate district. It was for the position of Senator as the current one resigned before his term was up. Our local school board has a real affinity for one of the candidates running for this position. Why? Just like with Democrats he will give the schools all they want - and then some. And accountability? As performance reviews will say at times - "needs improvement".

The Chair of the School Board sent out a letter with letterhead asking people to vote for the candidate he liked. To mask any conflict of interest or violation of policy, he ginned up a semi-official letterhead to use. It had the name of his organization at the top with his personal address under it. The color on his logo was similar to the color of the School Board logo. And then at the bottom, he signed it using his school board title. 

When I sent an email to my local school board member to inquire about this, I received responses from both my local rep as well as the Board Chair. Both responses said (if I may paraphrase), "No sweat GI". The letterhead, even though it had the name and color of the organization in it, was unofficial. So everything is fine (thus saith both of them). My response - BUNK. It is NOT FINE. This was a clear violation of policy and it is up to the management of the Board to fix this issue.

And who in the heck is the management of this Board? Who do they report to? They have to report to somebody. This organization which can spend oodles of our tax dollars. The Board which is responsible for teaching our young. For not letting counterfeit curriculum like Common Core or Heather has two Mommies into our district. Who are they accountable too? That be us. You and me. The taxpayers in this district. 

As our sheriff often says about being alert for terrorism, "this is a sheepdog alert". Well the sheepdog alert should also apply to watching our tax dollars. Every civil servant who uses our tax dollars needs to be transparent. A good steward of those dollars. And accountable to following prescribed rules and procedures. It is our right to made sure they do so. And it is our duty. Especially the folks at the top. 

No, the letterhead issue in NOT okay. And it is not going away. It will not be swept under the rug. As taxpayers, as the stakeholders in this county, we demand better. I don't give a rat's butt what someone's title is. If you are a city employee, a county employee, a state employee, or a federal employee, you are accountable to the taxpayers. This is not the tail wagging the dog.

So buckle up folks. The watchdog groups, the sheepdogs, are watching. We demand accountability. We demand getting our money's worth. And we demand good and honest answers to legitimate concerns - not a lipsticked pig like I got.   


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