(3/29/08, modified 3/31/08) City Clerk’s Self-Serving Gesture Shouldn’t Fool Voters

When the City Council (rightfully) rejected Nancy Shollenberger’s offer to reimburse the City for expenses incurred because of her error in preparation of the sample ballot, It would seem the next obvious thing for her to do would be to announce that she would not accept the City’s payment of $6500 for managing (mismanaging?) the election.  The amounts were close enough ($6000 vs. $6500) that it seemed an obvious way to reconcile the City’s loss without setting the precedent the Council was concerned about when they rejected her offer of  payment.  Instead, Shollenberger chose to continue the political theater that is the City Clerk race, by instead writing checks to the SMVFA and the SMPOA, neither of whom lost a cent over the City Clerk’s error.  They may have lost votes, but no money.  And the City Clerk can’t reimburse lost votes (don’t go there). 

However, here’s the thing.  The City lost money, not these associations.  And with her new solution, the City is the loser.  Had she chosen to refuse to cash her check for the election services, the City would have gained $6000.  Instead, Nancy gains a $6000 write-off, (and with all the investment property she owns in town, that may come in handy).  I was at the SM4U committee meeting Thursday night when Nancy had her representative read her letter to the Committee.  No, she didn’t write a check and have the representative quietly hand it over to the Association’s representative, she had him read her letter for the whole committee (most of whom aren’t members of  the association).  Then, yesterday, I received a fax from Nancy Sue that was also sent to the editors of the Mt. Views Observer and the Core Media papers, stating that we might want to publish these two letters, which she described as Letters to the Editor.  So she isn’t doing this because she thinks it’s right, she’s doing this to try and win back votes of people who might be having second thoughts.  In fairness, at the meeting, I had told the representative that I felt this was political grandstanding, and that while I thought her gift should be publicized, I thought maybe the publicity should wait till after the election.  After some discussion, I agreed to contact Nancy and let her know that since I thought it inappropriate to report on a private letter she had written to the SMVFA, if she wanted to send it to me as a letter to the editor, I’d run it.  But I never had to contact Nancy, and tell her I’d run it as a Letter to the Editor.  She sent it to me, and the other two editors, before I ever had a chance to contact her.  

And let’s talk about that letter for a minute.  First, by the Keeper of the City Records, there’s a punctuation error in the opening line.  Minor, I’ll give you.  But the opening line?  Then she states that she made an error mislabeling the argument.  No, she made an error labeling the argument.  She did quite well at mis-labeling the argument. I know, this is semantics.  But hey, I’m not the one saying that I can take exemplary minutes. With apologies to Lloyd Bentsen, I’ve seen Nancy’s minutes, and they aren’t exemplary.  Then she says it’s her only error in 24 years.  While I could go on and on about this, I already have, so I’ll just refer you to my 3/19/08 editorial.  Then she asks “What better way…”  Well a better way would be one that gets the $6000 back in the city’s coffers.  A better way would be a way that doesn’t make her look like a  hero, when all she’s actually doing is trying to make up for her colossal screw-up. 

By choosing to bypass a quiet contribution to these organizations, and having the letter read out loud at the committee meeting, and then sending it to all three papers, Nancy has exposed the act for what it is.  Self-serving, grandstanding, political theater.  Don’t be fooled.  Vote for Karma.  Or if you can’t do that, vote for no one.  But it’s time this City stopped validating her screw-ups by voting for her even when she’s messed up.

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