I have attended more County Commissioners’ meetings than most (I grant this record was not hard to accomplish) and have endured long, folksy rants on topics unrelated to the business at hand. I have listened as the Commissioners made decisions based on what some person said, instructed the County Administrator to write a letter only to hear them later discover that someone else had new facts that warranted a new letter contradicting the first.
The lack of professionalism by the members of the Commission is on display at every meeting. After three years, they still do not have a full grasp of Robert’s Rules of Order. Often, at least one of the Commissioners will claim not to know anything about the topic on the agenda only to be told that information was in their packet. Motions are justified by support from unknown people who are “too afraid to comment in person or in writing.” At one comment session, Mr. Jacob proposed cutting off the call from one of the few informed citizens who took the time to participate.
During the County Commissioners’ Forum, Commissioner Jacob spent the time when he was not speaking giving himself a manicure. At one point he brought out the clippers. The mess in his office for Zoom session was embarrassing. However, the least professional element of Mr. Jacob’s performance was the reason he gave as to why he is against moving the eighth graders to the High School – “because you are never going to keep eighth graders away from seniors because if I was a senior, I always knew where the young girls were out in the school. You couldn’t keep me away from them.” And who can forget Mr. Mason’s comment that he “didn’t want his granddaughter leaving school dumber than when she started”?
The Commissioners appointed Mr. Mason as liaison to the Planning Commission and Mr. Jacob liaison to the Economic Development Board. These roles are typically held by citizens. Instead, we have Commissioners embedded in the policy making bodies, commenting during discussions and then being the final arbitrator as County Commissioner. In addition, Mr. Mason has appointed himself to the Comprehensive Rezoning Commission where he frequently has the last word.
I would hope that the voters in Kent County not “be happy with what we have” as the Commissioners advise. We deserve better and we have better choices.