Potent Politics: Commissioners shirk duties to appointed committees

Contributing Columnist

The voters of Longboat Key have elected six of the seven commissioners to serve the electorate. The seventh commissioner was appointed to the commission despite the fact that he lost the election, the loser to an elected candidate who didn’t even campaign.

Everyone knows that the commissioners receive no remuneration, that the commissioners work tirelessly at their job, that the commissioners are forced to read many e-mails from constituents and total strangers, that commissioners must read untold numbers of documents and appear at many functions. The life of a commissioner is not easy.

However, commissioners have now resorted to a function they believe will simplify their lives. Our elected commissioners have determined it is easier to shirk their responsibility by resorting to the formation and appointment of committees to do their duty—committees who will perform the task that is obviously the obligation of the commissioners.

Committee number one, appointed by the commissioners, revolves around the vision process. Why can’t the seven commissioners work on the visioning process? Why do they have to appoint a committee to perform that role? The committee was not elected, the commissioners were. It is the responsibility of the commission to perform that obligation. Why should their appointees, mostly friends of the elected officials, perform that duty?

Needless to say, the committee will have to report to the commission whatever their “decisions” may be. It will be the final job of commissioners to decide the vision process. The committee is a needless middleman doing the job the commission should perform. The responsibility rests with the elected commissioner’s, not a committee.

Committee number two, appointed by the commissioners, resolves around the general working of the town employees. Isn’t the function of overseeing employees and staff the province of the town manager, Bruce St. Denis? Does he need the advice of a committee, some of who have little or no idea about how the staff operates, for example, the Building Department, Finance Department, Fire/Rescue Department, or Police Department?

What can a committee of non-elected citizens tell us that elected officials don’t already know? Isn’t it the responsibility of the commissioners and the town manager to ascertain the performance of town employees? Why appoint a committee to do the job of the elected officials?

Come on, commissioners, stop shirking your duties. Do the job you were elected to do—don’t hand your job off to the citizens who elected you.

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