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To the Editor: Regrettable That Reuter Abandoned the Council

Ken Waller responds to criticism of administrative procedures and county council actions; says Council member Reuter acted childishly.

Earlier today Jefferson County Council Woman Renee Reuter wrote in a blog on Patch, that at the Monday meeting of the Jefferson County Council, bills were passed that didn't follow proper naming conventions. She said she was so disappointed she left the meeting.

In response, Jefferson County Executive Ken Waller, wrote this letter to the editor of Arnold Patch.

To the editor:

What occurred last the February 14, 2012 county council meeting regarding the numbering of the legislative bills was nothing more than a simple administrative oversight, one that my administration takes very seriously. Council Woman (Renee) Reuter is correct that the bills did not follow the historical system of numbering. What occurred was that the sequential numbering from January carried over to February. There were no duplicate numbers and all bill numbers matched whet was on the agenda as posted and required by law.

Contrary to Council Woman Reuter's position, the numbering of the bills has little legal significance. What is significant is that when the bills are duly and legally passed, as they were, that the ordinance numbers are correctly placed on the bills both for historical background and for record-keeping purposes. The numbers used did not affect the legality of the bills, and which are now ordinances, in any manner whatsoever. This was not a violation of the charter. The council, by its affirmative vote, agreed to move forward and do the logical thing in passing the bills, enacting the ordinances and moving the business of the county forward.

While I applaud principle, it is regrettable that Council Woman Reuter felt the need to abandon the council meeting Tuesday night, thereby leaving her constituents without a voice and without representation of the many matters that were brought before the county council. Following a grandstanding PowerPoint presentation, which unfortunately was consistent with a pattern of behavior exhibited over the past year and specifically over the last two meetings. Mrs. Reuter unsuccessfully attempted to shut down county government by removing 46 items from the council agenda. Mrs. Reuter was not happy with the numbering system used to number the bills on the agenda Tuesday night, a system which although different from previous agendas, was neither invalid, nor illegal. I also applaud the majority of the council for not falling prey to her irresponsible behavior. Following her failed attempt to obstruct county business. Mrs. Reuter simply gathered up her things and left the meeting.

The executive branch of this government has strived to exhibit professionalism while implementing the many requirements set forth by the charter and the council's own rules. There have been bumps along the way, and no one is perfect, but overall, the day-to-day operations of the county government are being conducted in an increasingly efficient and professional manner. The same cannot be said of Council Woman Reuter, whose latest example of childish behavior simply illustrates her lack of professionalism and lack of responsibility to the residents of the county. By choosing to take her "ball" and go home when she did not get her way, she chose to ignore her constituents and desert them in the middle of a meeting. I neither condone nor approve of this behavior. Disagreements and debate are to be expected, and in many instances welcomed. However, leaving your post after you have lost a vote is simply irresponsible.

I, and those who work in my administration, have strived to be available to the council when it has questions. Unfortunately, a minority of the council is less interested in receiving answers and clarification on issue, and is more interested in ambush tactics for the purpose of creating a spectacle. This is not productive and simply creates more division among the members of the council and the administration. A phone call about the numbering earlier in the day could have saved much time and angst, and could have led to a simpler resolution of the issue. The citizens of Jefferson County deserve better. The executive branch will continue to act professionally and responsibly. Hopefully Council Woman Reuter will begin to as well so that we can all move this county forward.

Jefferson County Executive
Kenneth B. Waller

Charles Groeteke February 19, 2012 at 05:57 PM
The Charter of Jefferson County Section 3.5 section 3.5.10 states. "The County Executive must prepare an agenda for every meeting of the County Council. The form of the agenda must conform to the procedural rules adopted by the County Council as provided in this Charter." Charles Groeteke County Council District 4
Bryan B. February 19, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Simple adminstrative oversight.... that my administration takes very seriously. Aren't those oxymorons, Mr. Waller. If you would have taken it very seriously, it might not have happened. Couldn't it have been fixed at the meeting ? If those numbers are so non-important, why are they on there in the first place ? Oh, that's right. They mean something, don't they ? Obviously it was someone in YOUR administration who didn't know that. Let's call it like it is and not pass the blame on someone who was trying to fix the mistake. Because if that mistake wasn't really that BIG OF A DEAL, what's the next oversight that won't be a BIG DEAL ? Hhhhmmmm....... Sounds like a little political speak to me. Question, Mr. Waller. If the numbers on the papers were not a big deal, why did you feel it necessary to slam Ms. Reuter in a public forum such as this one. Did she call you out on a mistake or a "procedural oversight" that you should have been called out on and you didn't like it ? So you take the liberty to bring up other things that you think she has done wrong for what purpose ? Way to take the high road, Mr. Executive. You said she took her ball and went home. Very childlike comments coming from a man in your position. All this over something that could of been avoided had your team taken the time to do it correctly, legal or not.
Bill Moritz February 19, 2012 at 10:36 PM
Mr. Groeteke. Does stating that it is the County Executive's responsibility to prepare an agenda excuse you in some way from reading and understanding what is presented for you to pass? I think not. Are you expected to catch every typo or procedural error when you have an astonishing 40+ agenda items in an evening? No one would think so. If you find such an error, should you contact the Executive, Adminstrator or the Clerk to point out the error in advance so that it may be corrected or do you prepare a PowerPoint presentation and launch an ambush? If your answer is yes, maybe you should consider another way to serve your community when your two years are up.
Diane L. February 20, 2012 at 02:54 AM
Everyone just needs to remember that two of these politicians are up for election. They both have very worthy and experienced opponents. Cheryl Herman will be running against Renee Reuter. Go Cheryl!! Tim Medows will be running against Charles Groeteke. Go Tim!! More power to these candidates. This past year has been filled with arrogance and catfighting and yes childish and petty behavior. 1 question that I have is if Mrs. Reuter had seen all of the errors and had enough time to make a powerpoint presentation wouldn't it have been easier and more professional to make the errors known to the Chair for correction before the meeting? The main thing that is noticable to me is that there is a lot of political campaigning going on at these council meeting. There are three Council members that could sevre this County better by leaving the campaigning outside of the Council meetings and do the JOB that you swore you would do.
Bill Moritz February 20, 2012 at 06:26 PM
I caught a typo of my own in my comment above. I meant to type "if your answer is yes to the second option..." . Sorry about that.

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