I am troubled by the story of Judy Brigham’s firing and am trying to understand it. Here is the best analysis I can piece together from the newspaper reports:
An intelligent man new to the city’s systems made a logical but incorrect assumption about the state of the city’s finances. He went on public record saying that taxes could be saved. He was a short term hero in the 2011 mode, a renderer of lard from a Jack Spratt budget. Then his mistake was revealed. He was embarrassed.
The mistake was caused by a glitch in the city’s software, which presumably required budgeting money into a fund in hopes it could someday be deposited. The experienced employees knew the $4 million dollars reported to be in the utility cash overflow account was never there, but this information was never conveyed to and/or taken in by the new councilman.
The misleading software program was replaced, but someone had to pay for his embarrassment. A long term employee was selected as the scapegoat and fired with no warning or regard for the impact on her life.
Her crime was deficient mind-reading. She should have known the councilman’s faulty assumption and set him straight before he made a public declaration. She had to be punished.
If my scenario bears any relation to truth, I am extremely disturbed by the precipitous injustice displayed by our city’s leaders. Those in the executive session imply that we still don’t know everything, but they are remarkably unwilling to inform us.
Don’t we live in the U.S. where government should be conducted with openness and fairness?
For two years I waited patiently for a larger city council to represent our town more completely. Now the only difference between our council and the foreign dictators my taxes pay so generously to depose is that at least Judy Brigham was not summarily executed. I am grateful for this crucial difference, since at least there is still a slim possibility of reversal. Barring that, I suppose we must hope the next manifestation of city government will more faithfully reflect the ideal of “by the people, for the people.”
Mary Ann Dvorachek
Just what is wrong with our community? Our county does nothing but argue amongst themselves. The Iola city councilmen act like they have a grudge to settle. And the ambulance service people are constantly fighting the city and the county. We can’t decide where to build a hospital? What goes?
I have been in the professional world all of my life and have never seen anything like this before. (except in our present Congress). Firing a longtime employee two weeks prior to her retirement so she cannot receive her benefits? Just to save money on the budget? Give me a break. How cruel can a council get? I do not live inside the city limits, but, I ask the people that do, what were you thinking when you elected these councilmen?
Iola is a big part of my life just as Allen County is. I shop there. I have family inside the city limits. And I have loved Iola — until just the past year or two when all of this blaming anyone in the line of fire for problems that can really be easily solved.
To me it looks like a “power play” and I do not like it. It is time for you to come to your senses and give up the power play and do what is best for Iola and Allen County. It looks to me that you don’t care about that as long as you can say “I am a councilman” “I am mayor.” And that must mean “I am somebody” and the way to prove it is to be disagreeable and mean and to heck with what “we the people” think. You are reminding me too much of our present U.S. Congress and present administration and last but not least the Tea Party. How can you do this to our city and county?
Come off the high horse — get real — and do something constructive besides squabble. Put your noses to the grindstone instead of up in the air. Come down to the decent realistic people you used to be. We will all like you a whole lot better.
Thank you, and signed by:
Carolyn S. Mynatt
The following comments were posted on the Register’s website, iolaregister.com. Not all are included here.
— Susan Lynn