I attended the Isanti County Commissioner’s meeting the first week of August after seeing a KSTP story regarding the state auditor’s report on Isanti County.
When I stood and asked permission to ask the commissioners a question, I was curtly admonished by the Commissioner’s Chair, Mr. Larson, that I couldn’t ask a question at this meeting, and that I had to get on the agenda for the next meeting.
I tried, and was refused by the County Administrator, Kevin VanHooser, who had nodded his head and added that I could get on the agenda during the brief confrontation during the meeting.
During our phone conversation,VanHooser gave me a flimsy reason paraphrased here: “Well, if all 30,000 plus residents wanted to speak, we’d never get through our meetings.”
Would you accept Mr. VanHooser’s explanation if it were you asking to be put on the agenda? What is going on, here? This appears to be a blatant attempt at stifling public interaction with our county commissioners who are supposed to answer to “We the People.”
Why did he agree that I had to get on the agenda, only for him to deny my request? I was told by VanHooser that the next meeting where I could be heard would be in December. December? For a budget question? It is time for the county commissioner’s board to be accessible, transparent and honest in order to promote a healthy atmosphere for dialogue with the people of Isanti County on the issues. The lack of openness makes it easy for citizens to jump to the conclusion that something is being hidden here, otherwise the invitation to speak would have been forthcoming and not delayed until December, when any budget questions to be addressed will have become a moot point as they will have already been discussed or resolved.
I urge all taxpayers of Isanti County to start attending these meetings, for it is our taxpayer duty to hold our elected officials accountable, and to elect those with integrity to operate our county business with humility, openness and integrity and to serve the people of Isanti county with respect. The election is coming.
Spencer Brook Township