A discussion of questions and answers doesn’t sound like an editorial topic. However, recent exchanges with the Fayette County Commissioners have changed my mind.
Perhaps it will be easier to understand my concerns by using an analogy.
Five hours after the final exam, a senior walks into his high school teacher’s room and hands in his test. Proudly he says, “I have answered all of the questions so now I can graduate.”
Stunned, the teacher reads his answers to the questions and says, “This is hard to believe. The test period ended five hours ago. And I can see that many of your answers are just a jumble of words that don’t answer the questions.”
“But I answered all of the questions.” He states with self-assurance. “I deserve to get my diploma.”
“Maybe if you had turned these answers in before the test-time was up, we could have at least talked about what your answers are. But this is not acceptable. I can’t give you a passing grade and you may miss your graduation.”
In a similar fashion, our Fayette County Commissioners put on a show of answering questions, but five weeks late! They voted in their project list and then decided it would be a fine idea to answer citizens’ questions.
What nonsense. We needed answers when it might have made a difference. And now with a ton of self-assurance, they proclaim; “Hey, look everyone, we answered all the questions!” It would be a good joke on all of us if it wasn’t going to cost so many of our tax dollars.
For months, I asked questions, in every forum available, and I was met with deafening silence. What good could it possibly have done to go to their last commission meeting and ask those same questions again?
What do you think? Should we give our commissioners a passing grade? I certainly hope not.
Here is a question I can answer. Has anything changed since they published their list of 181 projects in early July until the vote to adopt the list was approved in early September?
The answer is yes, they did make two changes. The cost of repairing the Longview Dam went up $197,168 and the cost of the work on the Emerald Lake Dam went down $197,168.
Don’t you just love coincidences? But this is open government, they listened to us didn’t they? After 20 pages of answered questions, what more do we know now? Oops, I asked more questions.
Perhaps they should add another line to their “open government policy” that says “Answers-R-Us.” Better yet, that could even be their reelection slogan. But there would be an unwritten footnote which says you should not expect understandable answers to your questions. And above all, don’t expect common sense to be involved in any way.
You can answer the important question about their stormwater project list by voting no this November. I see nothing positive related to this proposed list, so do everyone a favor and give them an answer they will understand.