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Kearns and Sons

Commissioners irresponsible

 

Thank you for the coverage you provide throughout the year on the important actions of our various local governing bodies. It is appreciated. In this letter I voice just a few

thoughts concerning the County Commission’s decision to reject my federal tax dollars for specific services at the Public Health Center.

A very significant responsibility in a County Commissioner’s job description is to protect and enhance the wellbeing of the citizens in the county through the judicious management of the finances of the county and administration of all appropriate regulations. When the Ravalli County Commission rejected our federal tax dollars to fund specific education and health services through the Public Health Clinic they turned their backs on the citizens.

If the commission truly had issues with attached “strings” they should have performed their fiduciary duty and located money from the private sector they so glibly cite as a funding source and funded those education and health services long, long before they were lost. They stated repeatedly their concerns about accepting federal money over enough time they could have led the way to alternate funding. Couldn’t do it? Didn’t want to do it? It is easy to say there is alternate money but I don’t believe it is so easy to actually come up with that money. It is unethical to ask those in need to shoulder even more hardship and to close an entry point into the health care system by refusing the return of our federal tax dollars.

If alternate funding is achieved, what strings will be attached? Maybe they do not recognize some of the legal reasons for our federal tax dollars returning home to partially fund the Public Health Clinic. I am sure the directors of public health clinics across the state could paint the picture for them.

Their job description does not include finding solutions to the federal deficit (one reason given during a public meeting for refusing our tax dollars). I personally would prefer that my federal tax dollars be returned to my community’s Public Health Center rather than to be forced to accept a new mill levy (tax) to fund the lost services.

At a public meeting one commissioner stated their awareness of “generations of a family” using the Public Health Clinic. Really? The commissioners have the privilege of access to such information? The commissioners really know all the issues any given family or individual faces that may make it necessary for them to access the Public Health Clinic? Their job description does not include making any judgment about any client of the Public Health Clinic. Everyone needs help from others at some point in their lives and I have been most grateful when it was available in my time of need. If someone needs the services of the clinic and qualifies for the assistance they should use the service, no judgment, period.

I feel the current commission has, at the very least, failed the fullest performance of their fiduciary duties. Additionally, refusing specific health and education services to those in great need demonstrates a stingy and unkind streak that is simply not acceptable in public administrators. In 2014 I will support candidates for the two commission openings who have a reasoned approach to their fiduciary duties and the largess to understand what helping others at that level encompasses. In 2014 it will be time to remember.

Shirley McKibbin

Stevensville

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