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Our View: Professional conduct needed at meetings

With a city, three school districts, four villages and nine towns in the New Richmond News coverage area, our reporters cover a lot of public meetings.

First, we must thank the citizens who care enough about their communities to serve the public on various committees, commissions, task forces and boards. Without them discussing issues and voting on decisions, our local governments simply couldn’t function properly.

Further, it’s a thankless job that forces a person to pick a side and possibly create enemies in the community. It’s a wonder anyone would even want the job.

That said, it’s more than fair to say that some municipalities have it together while others simply do not, in terms of professional conduct and basic manners.

Hammond Village Board meetings have been tumultuous the last few months. Trustees have bickered over everything from employee meal reimbursement, vacation time, reviews and street maintenance responsibility. Many discussions have included insults, angry barbs and finger pointing.

Things really went over the top at the last meeting when the board couldn’t agree on an appointment to fill the trustee seat suddenly vacated by Mack Kamm April 15. Three men who stepped forward to fill the seat were discussed and examined like they weren’t even there. They were further humiliated when one by one motions to appoint them were defeated. One trustee was so upset by the display that he threatened resignation himself.

Of course, it’s not expected that they will agree on issues, but it is expected that they discuss them professionally and with manners.

Citizens look to people as leaders. They set the tone for the community. Officials should consider what tone they are setting.