RENEE GLAZER, Shenandoah Resident
Lately there have been several articles written in local newspapers concerning the employees and current city council members for the city of Shenandoah. These articles appear to be driven by past elected officials and a few citizens who remain unreasonably bitter about the most recent Shenandoah city council election. Since their defeat at the polls by the citizens of Shenandoah, these individuals have perpetuated a climate of ugliness, negativity and disruptions. Due to these circumstances, I feel the need to remind Shenandoah residents that we inherited a lot of things (good and bad) from past council; but the bad is being portrayed as current council’s fault.
First, the City of Shenandoah, its government and employees, are not in disarray as some would have you believe. In fact, the City is running pretty smoothly. If you ask them, the employees are happy, and after quite a long stretch, are not being micro-managed due to the prior political climate, and are working as a team.
Second, one recent article discussed employee turnover. Just to set the record straight, current council was elected in May of 2017, so most employee turnover happened during the terms of many different past councils. In this article, it was reported that ten employees left in 2017, when in actuality, since this current council was elected by Shenandoah residents, it was only eight employees that left. Two of those eight employees came back to work for the City on a part-time basis because of what is now considered a more friendly environment, thanks to this current council. Others left for better shifts and other positions. Only three of the eight resigned due to the outcome of this past election. There are many reasons employees leave their place of employment.
Next, another article discussed potential quorums. The citizens of Shenandoah should thank current council and the mayor for posting these potential quorum notices, as it brings more transparency to city government where there becomes no “hidden agenda” or “secret meetings” as some would have you believe. There were no postings of potential quorum notices during prior council’s tenure.
With all the recent ugly comments and childish behavior coming from past council, their friends and relatives, this current council needs to remind themselves of what they inherited. A few examples are:
- A pending lawsuit between the city and a landscaping company that the current council had to handle to mitigate a potential $1M dollar loss for the city, costing the city significant funds to settle.
- Negotiations behind the scenes by some prior council members and the city’s former administrator to rush through a new sweetheart administrator contract deal right before current council was installed as council members. It was said that the “new contract was needed because of the current political climate happening at the time”. That “climate” was an upcoming election.
- Prior council members rotating shifts all day at the City Complex to try and catch more than two current council members in a quorum. This was the subject of one of the newspaper articles, which was odd since the author had never visited the Shenandoah complex. It would be interesting to know who they got their information from.
- A former mayor using vulgarity, disparaging and defaming remarks on social media against those who happened to disagree with past council.
- Current council being labeled as “hateful” and “dictators”. Many Shenandoah residents know them and “hateful” and “dictators” is not something any of us associate them as.
- Highly disrespectful behavior when friends gather to visit after a meeting (one of which happens to be a current council member), and a former councilman’s spouse sits in front of that house for hours like a stakeout. Police were called because of this behavior.
- Current council members followed home by past council members.
- Past council members and a few citizens inundating city employees with Freedom of Information Act requests.
This kind of childish behavior never happened when these past elected officials were in office. I don’t ever recall seeing any of the current council members, Mike McCloud, Charlie Bradt, Ted Fletcher, Ron Raymaker, Byron Bevers nor Ritch Wheeler act in this way. They have all been nothing short of gracious, even with all the ugliness and disruptions past council members, their friends and relatives are trying to create. I know that current council members, who ran in this past election, while having a difference of opinion from their opponents, treated them and ran against them with respect. Do these people have nothing better to do with their lives and time? They should be trying to work with current council in doing what is best for the city instead of being bitter and vindictive.
The drumbeat of constantly watching and listening to the current council member’s integrity and character being attacked is so unbecoming of past elected officials. By not losing with grace and dignity and by conducting themselves so unprofessionally, these past elected officials demean the office they at one time were sworn to uphold.
The City of Shenandoah has never seen this level of political bitterness, angriness, disrespectfulness and negativity from any past council members until now. It is heartbreaking that a few individuals are trying to disrupt the business of the city of Shenandoah, current council and its employees. But, despite the lack of respect shown to current council members and current employees by defeated past elected officials, their friends and relatives, along with the negative press they are receiving lately, there are still a lot of people who do support their efforts in doing what they think is best for the city and its residents.
In closing, I say to Mike, Charlie, Ted, Byron, Ron, Ritch and all current city employees, know that these folks have an agenda to disrupt your service to the city, all because they lost. Don’t pay any attention to the childish acts of others who have nothing better to do with their time, and just keep doing your jobs to the best of your ability and for what you believe is good for Shenandoah and its residents. You have a lot of citizens and residents of Shenandoah who do support and respect your efforts for what you are doing for the city, considering the negativity and disruptions being leveled against you. Thank you for your service to the City of Shenandoah.