Council must be more transparent

Last Wednesday saw an editorial published in the Hermiston Herald. I caught it first on Facebook, but I’m glad that I subscribe to the paper version ... lots of good information.

This was Editor Woelk’s strongest criticism that I have read yet, but I am completely in support of the hard-hitting questions and observations. My work schedule allows only very narrow windows of opportunity to attend Hermiston’s Council meetings (Google “Dupont shift work schedule” to understand), and I’m grateful that the Hermiston Herald considers coverage of city government to be high priority.

Council members, let us see that you’re hearing the need for more involvement, more questions, more brainstorming, more transparent decision-making. Hermiston’s government, economy, and culture cannot coast or idle ... we’ve got to be actively discussing, arguing (with civility) and thinking outside the box.

Change, huge change is coming economically, and who knows what other changes down the road are positively possible or negatively harmful.

We certainly don’t need doom or gloom or excessively rose-colored glasses, but business-as-usual, let-the-city-manager-run-the-show will likely be just as detrimental.


City Hall does good job

A public note of appreciation to the City Government of Hermiston, including our Mayor and Council Members, our City Manager and our employees who accomplish the duties of running our city.

I have lived in five communities during the 69 years of my life, and since my teen years, I have followed the efforts of these communities to provide a quality of life for their inhabitants. The communities were Ottumwa, Ames and Ankeny (a suburb of Des Moines – our real community) in Iowa; Vincennes in Indiana and now in Hermiston, Ore. None of the former communities provided the quality of service to its citizens that Hermiston does. None of the former communities provided the quality of parks or recreation activities that our Parks and Recreation Department does. None of the former communities provided better water and wastewater than our Water and Waste Water Departments do. None of the former communities provided the quality or cleanliness of streets and roads that our Street Department does. None of the former communities provided better for removal of solid waste. None of the former communities provided a better, more up-to-date library, and I am certain that the same can likely be said of the other city departments of which I have had little contact. Perhaps more importantly, none of the former communities provided greater safety for its citizens, and all had more crime than Hermiston does.

Hermiston is a very pleasant community in which to live because of these factors. If it weren’t for the progressive attitudes of our City Councilors and Mayor; of our City Manager and Department Heads; and our city Staff, we would have just another average community. When a resident of Hermiston goes to City Hall or to one of our Departments, they are met by helpful employees and generally come away with solutions to their problems. Problems in Hermiston tend to be worked out in discussions with concerned parties, council members and departmental staff before they become big issues. Our Mayor and City Council lead the city by hiring good employees and overseeing their performance. Our City Manager does the same. The principle of providing goals, then letting the employees accomplish those tasks is an inherent principle of the American spirit. Micro-management, which Editor Woelk apparently prefers, is not an effective technique for providing an effective work force, or for accomplishing economically responsible performance.

If Hermiston City Government were nearly as bad as Editor Woelk continually infers, there would be a steady stream of letters to the editor in the Hermiston Herald. Instead, Editor Woelk has to “request help in locating issues” at the end of his diatribes. I am significantly disappointed that the East Oregonian (parent company of the Hermiston Herald) had such poor judgment as to select such an unethical individual as editor of our paper. He owes an immense number of apologies to the people who have made all of our lives better by providing a safe, healthy and clean community in which to live.


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