About that retreat

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 14, 2002

Editor, The News-Herald:

I appreciated Andy Prutsok’s column in the Aug. 11th Sunday paper. While that column is apparently intended to be a somewhat &uot;tongue in cheek,&uot; light-hearted commentary on current topics, it certainly highlighted the several issues attending Council’s use of taxpayer funds, both in general and specifically on unnecessary things like out-of-town &uot;Retreats&uot;. Hmmm – suppose the new attitude about Council members paying for their own retreat rooms means we could get a refund of some of the money spent on prior retreats to Edenton and Annapolis? However, I guess we’ll have to wait and see what really happens since the City’s representative reportedly says the city paid for everything, and those who want to &uot;reimburse&uot; the city for their room will be allowed to do so at some future time.

The News-Herald editorial of Aug. 13, 2002 was right on concerning the repugnant efforts of the present City Council to muzzle its constituents. With the apparent exception of my representative on Council, Linda Johnson, it appears that the other Council members are united in their desire to effectively tell their constituents to: &uot;sit down and shut up – we know what’s best for Suffolk.&uot; Indeed, I remember times when the opening Council meeting prayer has asked that those who disagree with Council’s actions be given the wisdom to recognize that Council knows best, or words to that effect.

Email newsletter signup

The right of a citizen and/or taxpayer to address his or her representative in an open forum must be preserved. If an elected representative doesn’t want to let taxpayers and citizens voice their concerns in open, public meetings, such representative ought not to seek office in the first instance. If the heat in the kitchen is too hot, they should get out of the kitchen! After all, not one Council member was drafted.

Given the repeated and open efforts of certain past and present members of Council to discourage and repress dissent, it continues to amaze me that Suffolk’s taxpayers and voters keep sending the same persons back to Council, time after time. But, I guess that terminal apathy continues to grip my fellow citizens. However, since hope in the breast of man springs eternal, maybe they will wake up soon.

I don’t agree with your apparently favorable assessment of the outcome of the Tides Inn retreat (or was it a &uot;charge?&uot;). You note that the tax dollars spent for the affair are small in relation to the City’s $200 million budget. That may be true, but anything and everything that may have been accomplished at the retreat could have been done with less here at home. Whatever happened to a &uot;penny saved&uot; and so on? Additionally, the very idea of spending tax dollars taken from hard-working Suffolk citizens to pay a &uot;facilitator&uot; to tell grown persons how to communicate with each other simply boggles the mind. And while we are at it, don’t forget that a &uot;$200 million&uot; budget equates to some $2,800 for every man, woman, and child living in the city. I wonder, can the average 2.4 person family look around and see anything that family received for its share of that budget (approximately $6,700)?

C.L. Willis, PE