Letter to the Kewaunee County Star-News: Sept. 30
Kewaunee County chairman’s ‘Pagel paradox’
FISH CREEK – The paradox is this. How can an industrial “factory farmer,” dairy producer/owner/investor and industrial quantity liquid manure producer also be in charge of a county committee overseeing issues concerning protection of surface and groundwater quality, and related public health and safety and non-farmer owned market property values, when this industrial production model has been determined to be the major source poisoning the natural environment everywhere they are situated?
Kewaunee County citizens have stood up and simply asked for a committee chairperson change, have had their pleas, “aired,” but, as it appears from the public response from County Board Chair Robert Weidner, that will be the official extent of action that is ever to be allowed.
Weidner’s soliloquy and subsequent county staff responses to Kewaunee County residents did not address the actual concern brought publicly at last week’s Personnel, Advisory and Legislative Committee meeting. Attendees heard talk about the judicial legal requirements to remove someone from elected office, which was not being requested. They heard about how the county views “conflict of interest” and official thresholds needed to be met for “misconduct in office,” which also were not being requested. John Pagel spoke about how he sees his own role as industrial dairy producer and chair of the Land and Water Conservation Committee. Absolutely nobody requested Mr. Pagel’s views about himself and that was not the issue or the question. Weidner’s personal, committee chair appointment criteria were not being requested by anyone, either. None of this entire evasive response to the public actually addressed the concerns raised by those residents and citizens who had written to and/or spoken before the County Board chair about the “Pagel paradox.”
The the public’s perception of a potential for conflict of interest was being questioned and Weidner was being asked to simply put that question to a vote before the entire County Board, as is required for Committee chair change. Removal of Pagel from his committee chair position was not on the Kewaunee County Board meeting agenda for Sept. 19. The public perceptions expressed will unfortunately remain unaddressed until their County Board Chair Robert Weidner decides to call for a vote. Action other than obtuse verbal misdirection, non-applicable lip service to citizens heard last week is required. Why a vote on this question is not happening remains a mystery to most people involved. This failure to call for a committee chair removal vote, here, defines failure of responsive, concerned, elected public leadership.
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Letter to the Kewaunee County Star-News: Sept. 30