KEN PRUITT: Does county commission have what it takes to make tough decision?


This letter is in response to the Nov. 19 article “Hilliard: Road commission accountability valued,” in the News Advocate.

The Manistee County Road Commission has been lacking accountability for quite some time. Accountability may only be provided by the commissioners taking over the road commission.

The county commissioners are accountable to the public as elected officials. The current road commission board is not made up of “experts.” There is nothing to suggest the county commissioners could not work through any “learning curve” in a relatively short time. They should be learning now!

The road commission board’s job is not to micro-manage the manager. That has happened much too often and certainly under the direction of Mr. William Eckhart and Sally Reckow as chair.

The article discussed budget issues. Those issues are always going to be present. The building mortgage was approved by a previous board when there was different (immediately preceding) manager that not only made that mortgage payment without a problem, paid the bills and operated with a surplus! He obtained grants and brought in money to help the budget. Mr. Eckhart’s and Sally Reckow’s board, however, saw fit to micro-manage that manager and Manistee County lost him.

The road commission building is not the problem. It is the complete lack of accountability of the road commission board and the Manistee County Commissioners appointing those members to the board.

Accountability is the absolute key. lt seems the only way to have accountability is for the county commissioners to take over the road commission board. A road commission board, by statute, is appointed for six years. This provides no accountability.

The residents of Manistee County, and those people coming to or traveling through Manistee County, deserve to have people in charge who are capable and competent. If the county commissioners see a problem with the current road commission board, the article suggests the current county commissioners are afraid to take over the road commission. If that is the case, new commissioners should be elected.

Money is tight all around. The commissioners are responsible for putting the proper people in the proper positions and doing what is best for our county! Tough decisions need to be made by our elected officials. One wonders if our county commissioners have the guts to make this decision.

Ken Pruitt


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