Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Politics by myse-elf

Every third Tuesday of the month, I trudge over to cover the Washtenaw Community College Board of Trustees meeting for The Washtenaw Voice. Usually, I'm the only student there. And when there are other students there, they are, for the most part, either other writers for The Voice or receiving some sort of recognition.

I get why nobody comes to these meetings. They're super boring, and half the time, the real, meaty news of the meeting is presented like the most vanilla stuff in the world. New parking structure worth millions? Motion to pass, everyone mumbles in happy agreement and we're already onto things like watching a presentation about the most recent golf outing fundraiser. Color me captivated.

Even so, these people are deciding what to do with many Washtenaw County citizens' tax dollars. And the whole board, save for the one current appointee, was voted into office by the area. Yes, you, Ann Arborites, made it your business to go out and vote for these people, if you voted at all.

It's time you all started giving a shit.

The board just appointed Patrick McLean to fill in David Rutledge's spot on the board as treasurer. The man's resume for this position is freaking sparkling and he's pretty charming to boot.

What kind of sucks it that instead of interviewing every single applicant, like they originally said that they would, they interviewed four. Four out of 11.

I don't care too much, with McLean being pretty much the best guy for the job that you could ask for. That, and I didn't really think it was necessary to interview all 11 people to begin with. But you know who did care? A whole lot? William Campbell.

William Campbell ran against Chair Pamela Horiszny and Trustee Stephen Gill back in November for a spot on the board. Horiszny and Gill were probably the two toughest people to run against on the board, considering the fact that at the time, they were vice chair and chair, respectively. If I could vote in this district, I know I would vote for them.

I have immense respect for Gill and Horiszny. I even think of Horiszny as a sort of role model - she's been on tons of boards, knows her numbers, is one of the most vocal members of the WCC board and has kicked my ass in a spinning class at the YMCA. I trusted both of them to be fair in deciding who the best appointee would be, even though their past opposition, Campbell, was one of the candidates.

Do I think they chose the right appointee? Yes. Do I think they went about it in a fair, transparent way? Nuh uh.

I interviewed Campbell for a different story over the holiday break. It was Jan. 3, the beginning of the week that the appointee candidates were to be interviewed. I asked him when his interview would be.

Campbell hadn't heard from them at all.

This excerpt from the editorial in the most recent issue of The Voice sums it up:

In Trustees to fill Rutledge’s position ASAP (Jan. 10 issue), it was apparent that at least one candidate for the trustee position did not feel as though the process was transparent enough. William Campbell was never interviewed for the position, and was under the impression, as we were, that all of the candidates would be interviewed.

We didn’t find out until this week that this was not the case. Shame on The Washtenaw Voice for getting our information wrong. But as for Campbell and the rest of the public, this information should be readily available. So in reality, this shouldn’t have been something we had to “dig for” as a newspaper at all.

So, so many people get pissed about stuff like this, but they only really pay attention to it during election time. Pay attention now, people!

Like I said, I would vote for Horiszny and Gill over and over again, but there are people out there that might read this and wish for someone else to be in office. I'm supposed to tell you the truth, not what I wish was the truth, and it would be nice if complaining taxpayers actually paid attention. Otherwise, what the hell am I getting paid for?

Don't answer that.

Photo credit to vaXzine for bringing together the two things people shouldn't do alone, but often do.

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