A response to Open Meetings Act letter
To the Editor:
Dear Mr. Winarski,
As a former Mayor of the City of Gladwin and the husband of one of our City Council members, no doubt you have had much experience in dealing with public meetings and Michigan’s Open Meeting Act. This act, as with most laws, was done to fully clarify, and follow, our country’s constitution.
These acts are needed to cover issues which may arise and are not specifically addressed in that most important document of law. It does not supersede the U.S. Constitution, it simply ensures a more detailed, localized understanding of it. The last sentence in the 1st Amendment states that Congress shall make no law “abridging the freedom of speech, […] or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
In the last paragraph of your letter, you said “it is not like the public is being held back from being informed, if they want to be informed.” On this, Tom, I would wholly disagree. Because Gladwin City Council meetings are held at 5 p.m., the large majority of people are being “held back.” As hard working, responsible people, most Gladwin City citizens are just getting out of work or picking up their children from daycare at that time. In the rush to take care of the business of family and the incumbent obligations associated, the timing of these meetings essentially prohibit attendance by the majority.
Personally, I have attended only a very few meetings. Each meeting had one or two of the council members absent. Of the meetings I attended, Councilwoman Sarah Kile was at each one. Not attending the special meeting which had Lewis Bender, PhD. addressing the council, may have been because Ms. Kile works a time-demanding job, often taking her to other towns and municipalities.
If the meetings were held later in the evening, say 7 p.m., she may have been present. If the meetings were held at 7 p.m., we would very likely have not only a full room, but two rooms filled! Not facilitating the ability for tax payers to attend meetings is “holding back” the people.
The Open Meetings Act can be viewed in a video online at www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1Dmv
QSKwFk&t=178s. Your doubt about Sarah Kile’s knowledge and experience is very insulting and shows you have rarely, if ever, had a conversation with her. In my opinion, an apology is necessary.
Sending out a live video feed of the meeting, each and every meeting, would further increase participation and inclusion of Gladwin’s citizenship. Participation from the public at that time, during designated periods, is something which needs to be looked into. In the meantime, live feed is now as easy as posting on Facebook.
Thank you for serving our city during your time as Mayor.
To the Editor:
The purpose of this letter is to express my appreciation for the fabulous job the crew did on our road, Dutcher Road, between Chappel Dam and Shaw Road. Besides the continual maintenance they do all year, the most recent project of the additional dirt, gravel, grading, and dust control was exceptional.
I spoke to David Pettersch to let him know of my satisfaction and was so impressed with his professionalism. He gave me the names of those workers: Jeff Courneya, Foreman and Jared Carpenter, Grader Operator. The project was done in a timely manner and I could tell that they really cared about the project, as demonstrated in the wonderful job they did.
Thank you for hiring such competent people to service the roads of Gladwin, under the direction of Mr. Pettersch. They do a great job!
Ben Gutierrez III
Friends of the Library news
To the Editor:
The Friends of the Gladwin County Libraries wish to thank the Farmer’s Market management for our spaces to sell books and raise funds to continue our purpose of helping our libraries with those funds to do projects, programs, and improvements in the facilities as needed.
We were impressed by the hospitable, friendly vendors who were there. We were able to get acquainted with them and found that we formed a camaraderie with many of them, looking forward to greeting them again the next time we were there.
We also want to say a big “thank you” to our local citizens and our visitors to the area who have visited our tables, chose books, and gave generous donations to our cause. We sold over 1,000 books in the eight Saturdays we were there. Each visit there we brought a completely different selection of books for perusal and purchase. We even accepted requests for authors or titles to bring if available.
We are a volunteer organization and would welcome additional volunteers, especially younger strong people, to assist in providing more service to the libraries. This would help improve the community resources of a great set of libraries with enhanced facilities, great book selections to check out, meeting rooms, programs for the public to participate in, and space for our Used Book Store and two other display areas of shelving to make more books available to all. Each area now has an ‘honor’ drop box for your monetary donation of choice.
Our Fall Book Sale will be a big one. There will also be a bake sale at that time. The dates of the sale will be Wednesday, Oct. 13 from noon until 4:30 p.m. for pre-sale to members of Friends. You may join at the door. Oct. 14-16 the sale will run 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. In this sale, the cost of books and baked goods will be your generous donations. As we said at the Farmer’s Market, “the cost is your donation of what the books are worth to you and consider it as a donation to your local libraries.” We hope this thought will continue as you attend the sales. We thank you all for your discarded books to make this all possible.
President of Friends of the Gladwin County Libraries