County Commissioners: let the public be heard

To the Editor:

I am appalled at the County Commissioners on matters of democratic discourse at the May 18 County Commissioners meeting. Mr. Bill Doherty, Chairman of the County Commissioners, informed the public that they, during the “public comment” session, would be granted only three minutes, and that comments could only address that day's agenda. A significant change from past practice.

The only way the public is heard is to ask permission of the Chairman to be put on the agenda through written correspondence. The approval rests with the discretion of the Chairman and may not qualify his concern. In other words, “Joe Public”, who has a question to pose to the Commissioners, must wait to be heard. Most tyrannical, Mr. Doherty does not even consult with his other Commissioners about the petitioned items, and may not field a petitionerʼs topic at all. The Dictator of Democracy, at his whim, leaves “us” no voice in County Government.

I, and others, have been begging Mr. Doherty to include an item on the agenda for five weeks. Mr. Doherty, you see, is also Chairman of the Countyʼs department of the Cape Light Compact. As a matter of background, Barnstable County (Commissioners) are responsible for the fiscal oversight and supervision of the Compact. The Commissioners are responsible to the 200,000 Cape Cod electric rate-payers for ensuring the Compact spends the consumerʼs monthly “Energy Conservation fee” wisely.

This said, how can the Compact justify transferring $1,337,000 of consumers' money to Cape & Vineyard Electric Cooperative (CVEC) as an outright gift? How can this be permitted under the Compact's charter? Furthermore, what benefit can the Compactʼs electricity consumers possibly derive from this?

Bill Doherty refuses to answer these simple questions. As a rate payer and a County citizen, donʼt I have the right to know how my money is spent, and the reasons why?

There is a “terrible conflict of interest” that now permeates through the 21 Cape town Compact representatives. Mr. Jeffrey Bernstein, general counsel from BCK Law, has cautioned Compact representatives not to furnish any records to constituents (ratepayers) and to avoid any communications about this issue.

Falmouth Compact representatives, Mr. Ron Zweig and Ms. Megan Amsler, are accountable to the citizen rate-payers of Falmouth. These representatives are also accountable to the Board of Selectmen, who appoint them.

Falmouth citizen rate-payers must urge our Selectmen to take interest. Itʼs time the Selectmen summon our Falmouth Compact representatives to ask them all of the same questions! Citizens and Rate-Payers demand accountability and transparency!

Mark Cool
Falmouth, MA

CapeCodToday.com welcomes thoughtful comments and the varied opinions of our readers. We are in no way obligated to post or allow comments that our moderators deem inappropriate. We reserve the right to delete comments we perceive as profane, vulgar, threatening, offensive, racially-biased, homophobic, slanderous, hateful or just plain rude. Commenters may not attack or insult other commenters, readers or writers. Commenters who persist in posting inappropriate comments will be banned from commenting on CapeCodToday.com.