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Transparency of action is not the way things have always been in Logan County

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The following is a Letter to the Editor from District One County Commissioner Marven Goodman.

Why do you care? Why do you ask? These questions are often asked by those who have something they would rather not discuss in order to deflect the conversation away from those who are making potentially embarrassing inquiries.

County Commissioner District 1 Marven Goodman

County Commissioner District 1 Marven Goodman

The January 30, 2015, meeting of the Logan County Commissioners was the first time in my short 30 day long tenure of office that I was really embarrassed. I was embarrassed for my constituents whom I promised transparency of action and which I believe to be a core principle of government by the people.

Related story: Commissioners agree more professional attitude needed

When I decided to run for public office it was with the full intention to conduct the people’s business in the light of day. This message of an open and transparent government resonated positively with the voters who elected based in part on this platform. The right and the means to examine the process of decision making is known as transparency. In politics, transparency is used as a means of holding public officials accountable and fighting corruption.
Way too often local government politicians compromise their principles in favor of an expedited process instead of due diligence and due process. Due diligence is a term associated with that care a reasonable person exercises to avoid harm to other persons or their property. Due process was first associated with both the Fifth Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendments prohibiting governmental deprivations of individual rights and liberties without “due process of law”.
So I’ve been told, you can’t be a politician and stand on principle, you must compromise, there is no black and white. Well I made such a vow to my constituents that I would not compromise my core principles and the Logan County board of county commissioners just put that vow to the test.
Here’s what happened…
The State Auditor recently released an audit which appeared to show thousands of dollars in missing vehicles and equipment from the Logan County Emergency Medical Services District.
Those who serve on this board are appointed by the county commissioners and the terms of the board members recently expired.
Unfortunately, in a 2 to 1 vote the board took a giant step backward by approving the reappointment of two county EMS board members without getting an explanation of property inventory’s showing missing equipment and six other serious audit findings concerning the EMS district. Because this district receives, manages and maintains close to a half a million dollars of our tax money each year these appointments should be serious business. Instead we got business as usual: the incumbents were re-appointed after the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners refused to allow questions about the audit to come forward. Perhaps there is a good explanation for the missing equipment but that explanation hasn’t been given to the public.
Even more unfortunately for the taxpayers, at least in the near future, transparency will be taking a back seat to the way it’s always been done in Logan County. But, I am committed to my pledge to work for transparency and I will always shine a light on these unfortunate practices. Perhaps this new transparency will lead to change; hopefully, sooner than later.
Marven Goodman
Logan County, District 1
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