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

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


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