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Council picked wrong target

This letter is in response to the article published in the Itemizer-Observer on June 13 concerning the Review of the Police Department.

I sat in on the Monmouth City Council meeting this last Tuesday, June 19, along with many concerned citizens and police officers who were alarmed by one of the council member’s “reckless and irresponsible” comments concerning our police department.

The council evening was comprised of minor items, but the bulk of the meeting was in response to the unwarranted review and the $12,000 that would be spent to conduct it. Citizen after citizen rose and came to the podium to express their concern about what they perceived as a vote of no confidence in our police department.

Chief Darrell Tallan completed the evening with the facts that what is happening in officer turnover is normal and expected when officers seek more pay, relocation, or advancement. As the chief stated, what is happening in Monmouth “is systemic,” and any costly review will not solve the problem.

Mayor Steve Milligan finally chastised the council at the end of the meeting stating that he felt the council was “overstepping their bounds” and creating a problem that did not exist.

Two terms that were brought up in the article referring to the perceived problem of the police department were “red flag” and a “toxic environment.”

The only thing that I saw that evening from my observation was a caution or red flag in my thinking toward the proposal made by the council and toxicity coming from certain members of the council with an agenda of their own and possibly an ax to grind.

Unfortunately the target happened to be our highly-respected police department and the community that night was not going to stand for it.

Ronald Williams

Monmouth

Police department feels support

The Monmouth Police officers and support staff would like to thank everyone in our community for their longstanding and continuous support. Thank you to those who provided words of encouragement and support at last Tuesday’s (June 19) city council meeting.

We are a united, strong and professional organization ready and willing to serve each and every one of you. We love this community; we are invested in this community; and we feel it is a privilege to serve such great people each and every day.

Detective Kelli Carpenter

All members of the Monmouth Police Department

Monmouth

Lead, follow or get out of the way

Thank you to the Itemizer-Observer and its reporter who thought others might want to read my comments made to the Monmouth City Council at the Budget Hearing regarding lessons learned as a first year member on the city’s budget committee. I also spoke of the need for leadership in Monmouth.

The city manager’s observable behavior whereby he literally tossed aside my written recommendations without a glance at the content is a case in point. One cannot bemoan a lack of citizen input and then dismiss it when presented. A leader would say, “Tell me more.” A leader would seek common ground. Leaders promote respectful conversation and debate that leads to understanding.

The city manager is responsible for presenting a budget to the budget committee. For over 10 years, he has chosen to largely ignore Monmouth’s needs for street improvements and city hall maintenance.

These could have been addressed slowly and surely in the capital improvements budget. I suspect we will soon hear that the sky is falling and another bond is the only way to fix things. Tax dollars are already committed until 2040 to pay off city debt. Leadership was needed to address these deficiencies long ago.

The mayor is the person responsible for communicating a vision for how to narrow the gap between declining resources and increasing expenses while maintaining current services and creating a thriving community.

The mantra given that the city can only increase revenues or cut services is not the stance of leadership. What we hear is, “We’ve always done it this way.” Right. That will get you what you’ve always gotten — so much business as usual and status quo.

Those in leadership positions need to “Lead, follow, or get out of the way” so that Monmouth can step up its game.

Nannette Willis

Monmouth

Behavior issues a parent problem

I was amazed and disappointed after reading the article about “Behavior Support” in last week’s paper. Even after hiring a specialist in three different fields (Education Resource Center, Mental health therapist and access to the District psychologist) the problem is getting bigger. Forty percent of the “major incident referrals” were from kids in kindergarten. A lot of this discussion involved Lyle Elementary School.

In my opinion this should not be a schoolteacher problem. This is a family problem, if a kindergarten kid has the types of behavior problems listed in the article what is going on in these kids home. This is 90 percent a parent or lack of parent problem. I would call this a child abuse issue. These kids deserve better and if not corrected now these “behavior” problems will only get worse. Maybe if the county or state stepped in and see what these “parents” are not doing it might wake them up to start thinking about the welfare of their children.

Bill J. Kluting

Monmouth



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