Democracy Falls Apart At Busti Town Board Meeting

To the Readers’ Forum:

Attending a recent Busti Town Board meeting and expecting to see democracy in action, I was sorely disappointed – the authoritative manner in which the town counselor conducts the meeting and the dismissive way he deflects criticism and suppresses discussion is sad to witness.

Producing a letter, which he sought approval to send to the state controller explaining his mismanagement of funds used to purchase a fire truck, he asked for an approval vote. Rudolph Mueller, a town councilman, interjected to oppose the letter, giving an impassioned and reasonable alternative which would admit to the error and offer a corrective error, by switching funds and saving taxpayer money.

To the dismay of most attending, Mr. Robbins offered no response or explanation, calling for a vote of approval and the councilmen obediently voted ”aye” with Mueller dissenting.

It seemed to me to be a poor example of fair and open government, with not much give and take or open discussion with audience members and even a councilman, refused time and cutoff.

Also, in a matter of the Amish being allowed to operate a sawmill in Busti, there was no sign of cooperation or willingness to reach an agreement, with only curt answers to the Amish pleas.

This to me was a sad example of what I thought was supposed to be a town government that operates openly to serve the people’s needs. I think it needs more compassionate leaders with more empathy and willingness to assert criticism and to be willing to accept errors and correct them.

Peter Nagle