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Archive for Wednesday, June 6, 2001

Mayor fumbles

June 6, 2001

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To the editor:

My objection to Mayor Rundle's ill-fated appointment of David Burress to the planning commission had nothing to do with the mayoral appointment privilege, Mr. Burress' qualifications or political philosophy.

Mike fumbled this political football by ignoring Paul Werner's inquiries concerning his reappointment over 45 days until sending a terse 11th hour e-mail without even a "thank you." Showing an inexcusable lack of respect for Paul's service to this community the mayor then made his appointment a last minute "walk-on item" which some people construed as an attempt to avoid legitimate public notice.

I was compelled to request Mr. Burress' appointment be denied. The three city commissioners who voted against the appointment sent a message that this was not the way to do business. The entire incident could have been avoided had Mr. Rundle been forthright from the beginning.

But County Commissioner Jones seems to want to have his political cake and eat it too. In one breath, he champions the mayor's "sovereign right" to make appointments, and in the next criticizes the composition of a commission whose appointments were made by former mayors and chairs who exercised the same "sovereign right." This contradiction seems to have escaped him, but if he likes the system, he should accept it all the time, not just when it suits his purpose. If he doesn't like the system he should work to change it. Diversity may be his desired destination, but the democratic process must be his vehicle.

While I respect Mr. Jones' concern about diversity, I feel he has used his "bully pulpit" to unnecessarily label and malign a group of individuals whose public commitment extends far beyond their service on the planning commission. This same group is at the head of the class in their churches, charities, and professions or employment.

Commissioner Jones may argue that I am a Democrat in name only, but party affiliation is important to him. It is not important to me. I believe in ideas, not ideologies. I believe in individuals not party candidates. But most of all I believe his goals will be achieved more readily should he use courtesy and cooperation instead of confrontation.

Ron Durflinger, vice chair,

Lawrence/Douglas County

Planning Commission

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