29 October 2011

Election Apathy and Work Ethics - Guest Post by Phillip Givens of Milford

This was printed in the Milford Mirror this past week, but I think they edited it.

While it is never good to sit out an election, I can understand why almost 60% of voters do not vote in local elections. It’s hard to be engaged in local politics when most people are busy trying to manage their own complex lives.

But is it right that those who run our City are likewise disengaged?  We have a Mayor, a City Clerk, 15 elected members on the Board of Alderman, a School Board and Planning and Zoning Board to make sure that our City is run properly. 

However, for too long, those we have elected to do the work of the city have been disengaged.  Our Mayor is currently taking courses to receive certification for his new job with the School Board; a job he managed to negotiate while running the City and working on the budget for the Milford schools.

The City Attorney is working as a campaign manager for the Republican candidate for Mayor though he has never found the time to actually do the work of an attorney such as filing motions and appeals or representing Milford in court.

The full-time Assistant to the Mayor is also working to elect republican candidates by broadening her job duties to include writing a scathing letter accusing an elected representative of the Board of Education (who happens to be a democrat) of having inappropriate Halloween decorations, but saying nothing—absolutely nothing—about the horrible attendance record of the republican members of the same board.   

Even the City Clerk seems disengaged: after someone discovered that a 1980s era ordinance had been ‘lost’ costing Milford’s Open Space Fund over $1-million, this elected and salaried official casually predicted that “there may be others (ordinances) lost as well;” offering absolutely no public reassurance that an effort would be made to find out what other ordinances were ‘mislaid’ or suggesting any changes that would ensure that the laws passed by the City were actually enacted. 

Bob Joy, who is trying to trade his short stint as an unpaid Republican member of the Board of Alderman for the salaried and benefit laden job of Mayor defends his failure to vote in any municipal election where he was not a candidate and his dismal attendance at Board of Alderman meetings as merely a case of having been, heretofore, “disengaged”. 

I don’t know Bob Joy, and I don’t like negativity in elections—but in this case I think that local republicans are hopelessly and haplessly disengaged.  How can local voters take republicans seriously when clearly the Milford republicans do not take local government seriously?
Phillip Givens
Milford, CT 

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