Library board offers reasons for budget decisions
The Jeffco Library Board of Trustees would like to point out key issues that informed our decision to decline the county’s recent budget proposal (see “Library board appointments held up by commissioners,” Columbine Courier, Oct. 12). We applaud the county’s desire to keep libraries open on Mondays, but we have the following concerns:
• The county offered to increase our authorized 2011 spending levels to $27.5 million. However, proposed revenues ($25.6 million) are down $1.9 million from 2009 levels. The county did not allocate additional revenues to offset this difference.
• We would be required to spend down our fund balance by $600,000 to fund operations in 2011. Under the county’s proposed plan, we would exhaust the library’s total available fund balance in two years.
• While the county acknowledges that the library is facing even greater budget challenges in 2012 and beyond, it offered no solution to these challenges.
The county’s plan would put us in a deficit-spending position (where expenses plus debt service exceeds revenues) for the next five years. This is not allowed under the library board’s budget guidelines, nor does it represent a sustainable business model.
We appreciate the county’s efforts to help us solve our budget challenges, and we have gratefully accepted other proposals. However, we do not believe the county’s recent proposal serves the library well. We are working to close the growing gap between library expenses and revenues in 2012 and beyond, and we welcome the county’s input to these discussions.
The Jefferson County Library
Board of Trustees
Ruth Anna, T.J. Carney, Cheri Cohn, Keith Grebe, Lynn Heinekamp, Clarence Kissler, Linda Rockwell
School board policy goes in the wrong direction
The news story that informed us concerning the ìmuzzlingî of school board members is interesting but not in the least surprising. In a time when ìopen and honestî are buzzwords that are constantly thrown about, the Jefferson County School District has gone the other direction.
A good example is the lack of access by citizens to the rules, regulations and policies of the school district. There was a time when one could go to the Web and easily find exactly what the rules, regulations and policies were concerning any issue. That time is long gone. There is no capability for a citizen, be he a parent, a student, a teacher or simply a taxpayer, to read the district regulations. We do not have access to them. They are no longer on the district website, and when this reader called to the ivory tower requesting a copy or access to the current regulations, the response was totally in the negative.
Apparently, the rules, regulations and policies of the district are only for those of the district administration to use and follow as they see fit, but not to be held accountable to by the folks who are paying their salaries. Can you imagine the hue and cry if the Jeffco sheriff, or any other county agency, operated with the same impunity?
Graham is best choice in coroner’s race
The Jefferson County coroner’s office is not generally known to everyday voters. As a former criminalist and CSI for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, I can assure you that the office is critical in the discovery of the truth. In a criminal investigation, an experienced medico-legal death investigation done by the coroner’s office is of paramount importance. In law enforcement, we rely on the coroner to assist with an investigation. The current coroner, Kathryn Loughrey-Stemp, due to lack of experience and knowledge, has been unable to fulfill this need. The only experienced medico-legal death investigator in this race is John Graham. I urge all Jefferson County residents to vote for Graham.
I would suggest interested voters contact a friend or acquaintance in the law enforcement field or the funeral industry and ask:
• How important is the coroner’s office to their work?
• Who is their preference in a candidate?
School board policy is an outrage
I expected it. I was waiting for it. I knew it would happen. Now that it is here, I cannot say that I am surprised.
I am disappointed and disgusted.
It has been bad enough knowing that former district attorney Dave Thomas is a part of the Jefferson County school board. I was upset to see that he was even elected to the board. It is a fact that he ran unopposed, and a sad comment on that election district.
Then, finding that he was made the head of the school board was a disturbing revelation. I knew this man as the district attorney from Columbine. I know personally his involvement at the secret meetings of Columbine, and as I type this letter I am angry again. The failures of this elected public servant are, in my opinion, epic in proportion. But, I will calm down.
Now I read that the school board is not allowed, by mutual agreement, to discuss their dissenting opinions about policies made by the board. All disclosures are to be made by the president, Dave Thomas.
The decisions are not to be discussed. They are not to be questioned.
They are not to be made public. Dissension is not to be allowed or disclosed.
Are they kidding me? Really, are they kidding me?
This is America. What makes America great, what gives us hope and helps us change things is the very disclosure and discussion that the school board will not allow.
And here is where it gets worse. It is not only Thomas that is imposing this school board self-imposed rule, it is every school board member.
And to this I have a comment: Shame on you all.
Tell the truth. Speak your mind, or resign.
This is America, and you have a right and an obligation as an elected official to tell the truth and to inform the public.
If this rule stands, and they will not speak their minds or give dissenting opinions about the decisions of the school board, they are all implicit in keeping the knowledge of the decisions and the process of those decisions from the public, however honest or corrupt those decisions might be.
Any American should know that this is against every principle that we hold dear: truth, justice, honesty, forthrightness, courage and the ability, demand, necessity and courage of speaking out and telling the truth.
This entire school board should take a stand: Deny this rule. Tell the truth.
Or they should resign.
Shame on you all.
You cannot govern fairly or honestly without full disclosure to the public, your electorate.