cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
The August 28th edition of the Express News contains an article by Thomas J. McKillen, the Managing Editor, titled “Germantown officials wary of county dispatch offer”. It discusses the topic of the Village Buzz piece I wrote last week. It rightfully indicates that Germantown officials are generally pleased with the current Police Department dispatch operation. Yet, that subject is scheduled for further discussion on September 20th.
I communicated with a member of the Washington County Board who shared some of the more inside information on this subject. This all seems to be, in my opinion, a ruse to get local communities to share in the costs of the Washington County dispatch operation without regard to the efficiencies that would almost certainly be lost in the process. Board Chairman Herb Tennies and the County Coordinator Doug Johnson appear to simply be after a deal that helps them with their budget. Sheriff Schmidt appears to be in their camp since it would be his budget that would get help. He made a statement to a County Board member, who asked what was going on with this offer, and his statement was polite but distilled down to the fact that the board member didn’t need to know what the sheriff was doing; in essence it was “it is none of your business what I do”.
Apparently the discussion is continuing between West Bend and the county, and that might make sense. It makes no sense for Germantown, and I doubt that it makes sense for Hartford (and they apparently didn’t think so either since they are not pursuing this avenue).
It may well be that, as one commenter wrote last week, we are fortunate to have Mr. Zabel as a trustee since he was merely trying to be crafty although the commenter seems to be damning by faint praise when he or she admits that this was a ridiculous scheme that was being offered.
That commenter wrote: On the face of it, Mr. Zabel's idea seems to be ridiculous but he may be more crafty than ridiculous. He is putting the police department on notice that they are not without competition and so whenever the opportunity comes up, they should think about being careful with taxpayers' money. If Mr. Zabel could do this for other government service monopolies, that would be good to see. If this is a trial balloon for him to see how badly citizens want their governmental services to be rethought, he is not getting much help from your column, Mr. Campbell nor from most of the responses.
There seems to me to be no doubt that our Police Department is prudent about the use of taxpayer money. If the Village Board needs to let any department know that it is watching, there are better ways than to be “crafty” and threaten indirectly by considering a poor proposal in more detail.
If the Board feels the need to formally include this item on the agenda for September 20th, I hope that it makes quick business of killing the idea for now and the foreseeable future. Frankly, I don’t believe this poorly conceived and ill-defined plan needs further consideration. Washington County’s governing body’s leadership is more interested in its well-being than in ours, I fear.