Sunday, December 31, 2006

The shameful incompetence of Democrats on the Monroe County Council

Monroe County Council member Marty Hawk came back from visiting family in Florida five days early to attend a County Council meeting that none of the four Democrats managed to attend. The only three Councilors to make it were Republicans. For two of them (Sue West and Trent Jones) it was their final council meeting.

There was disagreement on whether a meeting was required in order to make sure that the 2007 Salary Ordinance complied with state law. The county Legal Department wanted another meeting to be safe, so a meeting was scheduled.

I am particularly disappointed in second-year Councilor Michael Woods, who no-showed the meeting because his "no" vote on the Salary Ordinance was not going to change. His decision to not show up denied the quorum needed for the meeting to take place: Indiana Code states: "A majority of all the elected members constitutes a quorum."

The County Council makes $10,324 per year. Is it too much to ask a part-time legislator to attend an extra meeting, especially since there are only 12 meetings per year? Michael Woods owes an apology to Marty Hawk for not bothering to attend the meeting, denying a quorum, and ensuring that Hawk's personal sacrifice was for nothing.

Warren Henegar and Mark Stoops (who was fired by the voters on Election Day) had said they would not be able to attend the meeting. Would it have been so difficult so cancel the meeting, given the circumstances and the likelihood that a quorum would not be present? I find it to be a grave disservice to the taxpayers for Democrats, who control the fiscal decision-making in county government, to schedule a meeting and then not bother to show up.

The reaction of local Democrats to this story is telling. Greg Travis, husband of County Council president Sophia Travis, whined that Hawk was "brazen enough to turn (her sacrifice) into a political stunt." Another local Democratic activist boldly proclaimed that Hawk's decision to cut her vacation short shows "devotion to oneself !" (sic). Don Moore, Husband of Bloomington City Clerk Regina Moore, wrote:

I think if I knew that the maximum number of persons to be at a meeting was four, the minimum for a quorum, I'd make damn sure that all four were going to be in attendance bdefore I left my vacaton. I'd also not plan a vacation duration that I knew a meeting existed in the middle of. Or I would just have joined the others who decclared they could not make the meeting and so declared also.

The meeting was scheduled this month. How long ago did Hawk make her vacation plans? It is not unusual for such plans to be made months in advance. Moore's lack of compassion, especially given Hawk's sacrifice, is unfortunate.

Moore finished off by writing I think any rational person would do the same, at least with one of these options. So, as is par for the course for Don Moore, he makes a personal attack against Marty Hawk and questions her rationality. Is this the kind of attitude that his wife, Bloomington City Clerk Regina Moore, would approve of? After all, Mrs. Moore founded "Women Elected" a while back as a bipartisan way to encourage female elected officials.

I find the coverage of the meeting in the Herald-Times to be seriously lacking. If the Republicans were in control of the County Council and did the same thing while a Democratic Councilor came back early from a family vacation, I suspect that the story would have been the top headline of the day. There would also have been at least one editorial scolding the Republicans for incompetence and unprofessionalism.

Following is an e-mail I sent to Marty Hawk.

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Thank you for your dedication
Date: Sun, 31 Dec 2006 19:59:58 -0800 (PST)
From: Scott Tibbs <>

Councilor Hawk,

As a taxpayer in Monroe County, I would like to thank you for your dedication and willingness to sacrifice in order to make a County Council meeting last week. I find it shameful that the Democrats scheduled this meeting and did not bother to show up or even cancel it. I believe that Michael Woods specifically owes you an apology for deciding to not show up, since it was his decision not to attend that denied the quorum.

Thank you for your devotion and your years of service. Congratulations on winning four more years on the council and best wishes for your next term. I hope the voters of Monroe County see fit to reward your dedication by electing some Republicans to serve with you in 2008.

Scott Tibbs


Scott Tibbs