The policy on public comments at the Barry County Board of Commissioners is to listen to people speak, but not to respond. Commissioner and Chairman Ben Geiger frequently says, “This is your time to speak; it’s our time to listen.”
So, there was no response when two spoke Tuesday, chastising the commission for not re-appointing Sharon Zebrowski, the current chair of the board, to the Charlton Park board last week.
Mike Snyder, Hastings resident, watched the meeting via streaming. He said of all the applicants, “just one has many years of successful tenure with Charlton Park and has a vision and plan for the park’s future growth.”
“This applicant was not chosen. Why? Under a normal and honest interview, using nothing else other than common sense, which applicant is more qualified and should have been chosen for the board’s position?
“I smell a rat here somewhere…what would taxpayers of Barry County say if asked this question? Remember it’s their money and their park, and commissioners, you have been elected to be caretakers and to make sound decisions for the county and not your self-interest.
“I was under the assumption you were going to improve the method for interviewing applicants for committee and board positions…If this is your improved method, it may be best if you hire an outside consulting firm to do your interviewing,” he said.
In an earlier e-mail to each commissioner, Snyder praised Zebrowski for improving the education events for school students, long hours of volunteer work and dedication to the park.
Zebrowski said for the first time in years, the park board’s recommendations for the board positions were ignored. Addressing Geiger, she said: “Are the recommendations so odious that you felt compelled to explain to your cohorts what recommendations are and to tell them to ignore them?”
‘Your haughty, insulting and disrespectful remarks were both unprofessional and abhorrent. By sitting by and saying nothing, your cohorts either have the same haughty disrespect for the board you’ve shown, or they have no backbone.
“You and your merry little band of puppets owe the Charlton Park Board and specifically the recommendation committee (which I was not a part of) both a public and written apology.”