Over the past year I have submitted several guest columns to The State Journal, which the newspaper has kindly printed. I take no pleasure in writing these columns, because they usually bemoan what I perceive as misdeeds by our city government.
Well, I am sorry to report that after last week’s special Frankfort City Commission meeting, I feel compelled to write again.
This special meeting at 1:30 pm on Wednesday, Oct. 2, was called by Mayor Bill May. Special meetings require 24-hour advance notice so the public can make arrangements to attend. He seems to think that he did this. He didn’t.
Many people, including myself, still get their local news from The State Journal, which is delivered by the U.S. Postal Service. The notice for the meeting appeared in Wednesday’s paper, which arrived at my house around 4:30, which was three hours after the meeting started.
Why such a rush on the meeting? Because the Frankfort Plant Board's Board of Directors had only 2 members, which does not make for a quorum. This was Mayor May’s own doing.
At the city commission meeting nine days earlier the mayor chose to not make any replacement appointments or reappointments for the two FPB board members whose terms expired that day. At that time, he knew that a third member was about to resign because of taking a job out of state, and in fact he did resign the next day. So Mayor May waited eight days to call a special meeting, and then with only “24 hours” (read that as ZERO hours) advance notice.
Why 1:30 in the afternoon? One possible reason is it means that all of the Frankfort citizens who hold jobs would not be able to attend and possibly question his actions.
I think a bigger reason is because he knew that Commissioner Katrisha Waldridge, who has a job, would not be able to attend. Katrisha has been the mayor’s most outspoken critic, so this was his way of silencing her. That, Mayor May, is despicable.
Then they started the meeting by passing a motion to suspend all of their previously established rules for properly vetting and approving candidates for appointment because this was an “emergency.”
The purpose of the meeting was to appoint John Cubine to the FPB board. Mr. Cubine was in attendance at the special meeting. In comments by the public, several people wondered why Cubine had resigned from the FPB board after only 13 months a couple years ago. That seems like a very relevant question, as it might shed light on whether he might resign again.
I’ve heard good things about John Cubine and perhaps he had a reasonable explanation. But did any of the commissioners ask Mr. Cubine to address the question? No, they didn’t. Why the heck not? Only Commissioner Eric Whisman had the gumption to use that unanswered question as reason to vote against the appointment.
People, this is just the latest example of how broken our city government has become. We really need to replace Mayor May and Commissioners John Sower and Scott Tippett, who show no leadership and way too often are on the wrong side of issues that would benefit the citizens of Frankfort.
I ask each of you reading this column to think hard about who might make for better city commissioners or mayor. Then, please, reach out to those people and encourage them to run for office in the next city election. Frankfort needs — no, deserves — better people leading our city forward.
Richard Rosen is a Frankfort resident and philantrophist. His wife, Anna Marie Pavlik Rosen, formerly chaired the Frankfort Plant Board. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.