New appointees should take position seriously

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 15, 2007

After months of struggling to take action regarding the non-functioning E-911 board, the Marengo County Commission took its first steps to recovery by appointing seven members to the board.

At the heart of the new appointments is the need to have a functioning board to serve the emergency service needs of the county. With each appointment, however, there is no guarantee the board will miraculously begin to function and heal all the county&8217;s E-911 ailments.

As Chairman John Crawford put it, the new appointments should, from the beginning &8220;leave the politics out of it.&8221; But judging by the response to some of the commissioners&8217; appointments, it seems politics is already at play with the new board before they have even had a chance to meet.

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Commissioner Freddie Armstead first stirred the pot by nominating himself to the board, despite the objections of three of his fellow commissioners. From the beginning, Commissioner Ken Tucker and others have maintained the board should function as an independent entity without a commissioner serving on the board.

After his nomination went unsupported, he went on to nominate the same board member he appointed previously. This sparked a reaction again, as commissioners pointed out his nominee was one of the members who caused the board to become defunct in the first place.

Another concern is the board is heavy on fire and rescue expertise, but the group lacks representation from law enforcement and EMS agencies. These concerns are prudent when considering the previous situation of the board and should not be taken lightly.

But most importantly, for the citizens of Marengo County and for the future success of emergency services, the new board members should find it within themselves not to repeat the mistakes of the previous board.

And finally, every party involved should reconsider the seriousness of what is at hand and attempt to truly keep the politics out of it. Peoples&8217; lives are at stake.