City should be talking to us about Melody Green

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 17, 2002

Things seem to be awfully quiet over at City Hall these days.

Not that there’s not a lot going on – there is. It’s just nobody’s talking about it.

Sometime last week Melody Green, who for over two years served as director of Suffolk Parks and Recreation, was responsible for the highly touted Parks and Recreation Master Plan and was generally acknowledged as a recreational wunderkind, didn’t show up for work one day and nobody has seen her since.

Email newsletter signup

She apparently resigned from the post but that’s about as much as anyone will tell us.

On Tuesday evening, city council members were holed up in &uot;the back room&uot; of council chambers ostensibly reviewing candidates for the City Manager’s job that is to become vacant on Jan. 1 when Myles Standish’s contract extension runs out.

The Suffolk News-Herald was told in so many words that these were &uot;personnel issues&uot; and as such were none of our business. I don’t know about you, but that piques my curiosity. And being cynical by nature, – not to mention a believer in every conspiracy theory that’s ever come down the pike – the official silence makes me believe something sordid is going on.

Government silence always ticks me off. Unless national security is at stake, it’s more often than not mere arrogance and self-importance from which it emanates.

The City of Suffolk takes about $1,500 to $2,000 a year from me in real estate and personal property taxes, plus the additional five cents on the dollar I cough up every time I buy a stinking taco. This money, at least the approximately 1 percent of it that does not go to build new public schools, pays for everything that goes on over on that little corner of Market Street – everything from Melody Green’s former salary to the toilet paper in the restrooms – yet decisions that are made there are none of my business?

I liken the situation to that in my home. I have two beautiful, and most of the time sweet kids. I buy their clothes, their food, their PlayStation games. I give them a reasonably dry, safe place to sleep. When I walk into their bedroom and ask them what’s going on, they damn well better tell me. It’s not asking too much.

As taxpayers of Suffolk, this 400 and some-odd square miles is our home. Our city council and city staff are, in effect, just like the Prutsok kids in that they, too, are a reasonably attractive and loveable bunch and that everything they have is paid for by their parents – the taxpaying citizens of Suffolk. We pay their salaries, we pay for their consultants, their TV shows, their retreats, we co-sign for their hotels and if there are any PlayStations in City Hall we’ve paid for them, too. All we ask for in return is a little openness and accountability.

In short, I want to know why Melody Green is no longer the director of parks and recreation. And unless telling me could result in an al-Qaida attack on Sleepy Hole Park, I feel I have a right to know. So do you.

Andy Prutsok is editor and publisher of the News-Herald.