Leona Hemmerich: The rule of nepotism

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To the editor:

The root definition of nepotism is favoritism. It sprung from the Feudal practice of granting privilege to a relative. Papal power in old Europe would grant titles, lands and other privileges by edict to family and close ties. Inequities spawned from nepotism have plagued mankind through millennia. Nepotism is a very clear conflict of interest.

Is the spirit of nepotism ruling in Moffat county? At the Dec. 18 commissioners’ meeting, when the BOCC fired MCTA board members due to supposed insubordination (doing our job), a number of people pointed out that Tom Mathers should not have a vote on that matter because of his personal conflict. The county attorney is aware that Mathers’ daughter is the director of the chamber. When Mathers ignored that request, the attorney said nothing.

Considering the fact that not only is one commissioner related to the chamber director, two of the chamber board members are also Craig City Council members. Considering the amount of non-tourism tax dollars that are spent on the chamber by the city and county (even though businesses that are not chamber members pay some of those taxes) it seems odd that no complaint arose from any officials (who, by the way, are elected by the general populace) about the tax money going to a private entity, until you remember that nepotism rules. Craig seems to be rife with the “conflict of interest” syndrome. Some actually practice it.

Is the spirit of nepotism behind the large tax subsidies the chamber gets from the cty and county coffers? According to the spread-sheet that the chamber director sent to the funding partners in regards to Visitor Center reporting, the city and county each paid $3,115.07 toward the Visitor Center. On the chamber budget part of this same spread-sheet, it shows that the city and county each paid $7500 as per their agreements. Since membership is listed separately on that sheet, this money wouldn’t appear to be a membership item. This means there’s almost $9,000 in revenue not seemingly justifiable according to the reporting that was given to the MOU partners. Should Moffat County continue in the Craig Chamber? Definitely, as long as it also joins the Dinosaur Chamber and any other chamber that might spring up in Moffat County.

The chamber’s 2011 numbers would indicate they made a net profit of almost $70,000. According to Chamber numbers, approximately $64,500 of their income came from “taxpayers.” Add to that the membership dues they receive from government entities and other monies. Some items may even constitute a double dipping when you compare the 2 spread-sheets. Isn’t it time for an independent third party audit to guarantee how that “tax” funding is actually used? Or do we turn a blind eye as our elected officials have chosen to do, silence those who would dare ask questions?

“Equal under the law” is the only standard of righteous government!

Leona Hemmerich

Comments

Taxpayer 1 year, 8 months ago

Commissioners need to be transparent with taxpayer funds and should always refrain from voting on anything that would darken the perception of their integrity.This would include council members who sit on way too many boards and then do not abstain from discussion and votes. Thanks for being specific and reminding the community of the importance of more transparency and a lot less of nepotism.

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