Editor Lou Brancaccio, wrote that “Don Benton must go” (“Bad company till the day we die?” Jan. 8). I agree.
However, the problem is not Don Benton. The problem is that the citizenry elected the M&M boys (Commissioners David Madore and Tom Mielke) and they’re taking the public for granted. When elected officials ignore the public process, the message is that the public’s input doesn’t matter. Hiring a Republican crony without following the county’s adopted vetting process is taking us for granted. This act of blatant cronyism has resulted in a lawsuit against the county. Moving the public comment period to the end of a long evening agenda is intentionally punishing the public for taking the time to show up to talk about their government.
It’s easy to draw parallels between the Don Benton and the Chris Christie debacles. An essay in The New York Times’ calls such people “handpicked incompetents” and says that Christie “has set a tone that makes abusive actions acceptable.” Madore and Mielke have created a culture of cronyism that has resulted in a mass exodus of intelligent and forward-thinking public employees.
To be fair, I’ll wait for a verdict on Chris Christie’s possible involvement in the bridge closing. I’ll give Christie credit for doing what the M&M boys refuse to do — admit they abused their power and moved to rectify their problem.