Agrees with everything in July 7 Call the Tune
July 20, 2005 - To the editor:
I make it a point to read the Opinions column that appears in each edition of the Call.
Prior to reading the July 7 Opinion column subtitled Call the Tune by Mike Anthony, I must say I had begun to believe that the opinions from General Manager Bill Milligan had tendency to challenge or discredit Mehlville Fire Protection District firefighters and paramedics and their efforts to stop the assault on their jobs, benefits, dignity and security for their families.
That was until I read your column. Al-though you didn't use names or point fingers, your message was strong.
I agree with everything contained in your article. With your vivid description in paragraphs three through eight wherein you call attention to the actions of: "(1) officials have tried to stifle citizens freedom of speech; (2) officials who try to suppress freedom of speech during public comments periods, but more often than not, they just don't care what the public has to say or they are so arrogant and thin skinned they can't handle criticism; (3) or perhaps they have got something to hide and are afraid to be questioned about what supposedly is the public's business.''
If your statements were clues and I had to guess who you were referring to, my first guess would be MFPD Directors Aaron Hilmer and Bonnie Stegman. You virtually described most every action demonstrated by Hilmer and Stegman at the last two MFPD Board of Directors "open'' meetings.
After reading further into your article and seeing words or phrases like, "highhandedness, pompousness, self-congratulatory comments and verbal backslapping, those who claim they're doing a great job for taxpayers are in reality doing an abysmal job,'' I felt I knew you had to be describing Directors Hilmer and Stegman.
Feeling that I knew who you were talking about and having seen firsthand how these two conduct themselves, I thought it was great for you to advise or counsel on the proper way elected officials should conduct themselves at any meeting especially where citizens — taxpayers — are present.
If Hilmer and Stegman would read paragraphs nine, 10, 11 of your article and follow the advice you so specifically stated, future meetings will be more civil and productive.
When Hilmer and Stegman demonstrate by their actions that they actually welcome public comment and genuinely are interested in hearing what the public has to say and they'll go to great lengths to allow public comment without time limits and without a litany of topics that can't be discussed, real progress can begin. Public trust can begin to develop.
Thank you for your views and your ad-vice to whomever you were referring. I really think I know. Your reference to these mystery people making asses of themselves was right on the money.
Dennis C. Skelton