To the editor:
Is it true if a Sasquatch ran for commissioner on the Republican ticket in Juniata County it would get elected? The answer, my friends, is as close as the current board.
Just remember if you voted for the current Republican commissioners, you are responsible for much of the disarray in county government. Similarly, if you are eligible to vote but did not, you shoulder just as much to blame.
Let's take a look at the Juniata County circus and goat roping, also known as the closure of the county jail. If you did not see this coming, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.
The decision was made long before July 3, 2012. The Democrat commissioner came right out and said the jail should be closed. She minced no words, but she, at least, held public hearings to give people some semblance of a voice. She stood up and took the heat. Where were the other two commissioners? Busy? Prior commitments? Afraid to face John Q. Public? Or was it the simple arrogance of not caring about public opinion?
Will this board come out as heroes or zeros for closing the jail? That remains to be seen. But it is already clear that two of the three commissioners seem to have some magical knowledge about what their constituents want or think.
Case in point.
I have spent two-and-a-half years attending the commissioners' meetings, and when a certain commissioner does (or does not) want something to happen, it's a done deal.
However, thanks to the public comment portion of the meetings, the public could question the decisions.
Now even that right has been taken away. The chairman of the board has decreed that no questions will be permitted in the public comment period. Really? I thought this was a democracy?
How will we ever know how the new 911 tower is progressing? I'm pretty sure he isn't going to stand up and tell us it was delayed because of lack of proper permitting, or that the electrical bids increased exponentially.
What about courthouse security?
Mifflin County is increasing its security measures.
In Juniata County, is it up to the employees to attack intruders and stab them with pens or pelt them with erasers? All because two commissioners don't think that security is important. And they speak not only for the voters who elected them, but for those who could have voted but did not.
Then there is the issue of reassessment. Again, there are many pros and cons. Every person has his or her opinion. But it's not even an option on the table to be discussed thanks to the chairman and his faithful sidekick.
And lest we forget, the debacle of renovating the courthouse still hangs over our heads - thanks to the continued lean of the bell tower - not to mention the bathroom on the second floor that never materialized, etc., etc. All because the fox guarded the henhouse instead of hiring a clerk of the works to oversee the project and makes sure the county received what it paid for, instead of paying for unnecessary change orders time after time.
Remember, father knows best. Obviously the $39,047.35 per year salary plus benefits gives some members of our esteemed board the right to tell us, "Sit in the truck, and don't play with the knobs."
The next election is three short years away. Unfortunately, if form follows function, the voters of Juniata County will continue to be satisfied.
I've tried to advise many people to be careful what they wish for. I think in this instance, I would be better off asking them the question my grandson loves, "How's that working for you?"
Clair L. Bair