Trustee Civility – Why It Is Needed | April 12, 2009

I recently attended a Special Trustee Meeting, whose sole purpose was to review the upcoming fiscal year’s budget. At this public meeting [I believe three members of the public were present counting myself], one Trustee accused another of being, “…too lazy to go through…” the entire DPW budget, as part of a discussion pertaining to the existing Village Budget draft. When at the end of this meeting, the accusing Trustee was asked to apologize for his/her remarks, the Trustee refused to do so.

I served for six years as a Trustee and Deputy Mayor, and during that entire time, I recall numerous occasions when we as a group of five elected members disagreed with each other, but at no point in time did any of us resort to name calling or disrespect. Why? We live in a very small community where we are neighbors first, and then part time unpaid elected officials second. The rules of common sense dictate if the public is to respect the job we have been elected to do and if we are to function together as a cooperative team regardless of our respective points of view on any issue, public meetings are no place for Trustee disrespect or name calling. By running for public office, it is assumed by the electorate that the individuals running have the maturity, patience, diplomacy and judgment to work politely and respectfully with both one’s fellow Trustees and members of the public.

This was certainly not the case here, and an apology will hopefully be forthcoming.

David B. du Pont

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