June 16, 2011 in Washington Voices

Vocal Point: Grievance against city should be aired publicly

Rose Dempsey
 
About this column

Vocal Point is written by members of the community about issues of area interest. If you’d like to address a topic in this space, let us know. Contact Jeff Jordan at (509) 927-2170 or by email at voice@ spokesman.com to discuss what you’d like to write.

It’s hard to believe Spokane Valley Councilwoman Brenda Grassel has again pulled that tired warhorse out of the barn, the I-had-trouble-with-the- permitting-for-a-new- sign-in-front-of-my- business warhorse. She’s been beating this horse for at least three years.

This problem, addressed by two different city managers and numerous staff members, was dealt with and resulted in changes in the permitting process. So why the vendetta against the city staff? Would Ms. Grassel be satisfied if the entire city staff gathered in front of her house, each with large bouquets of flowers to lay at her feet, while singing “I’m Sorry?” I think not.

Instead, Ms. Grassel (with the approval of Councilman Grafos) insists on a secretive (police state?) plan, whereby disgruntled citizens can complain of being abused by staff “without fear of retribution.”

Give me a break! The whole purpose of the staff of the city of Spokane Valley is to make things work smoothly, efficiently and effectively. Why would this highly educated, highly motivated staff shoot themselves in the foot by giving shoddy, sullen service to the people for whom they work? It just doesn’t make sense.

If either Ms. Grassel or Mr. Grafos has firsthand knowledge of any person who has complained about the permitting process, suffered retribution by the staff and received no redress from either the city manager or senior staff, I demand that they come forward with the details of these incidents. Vague innuendo is unprofessional. Secret means for people to complain about their neighbors happened in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. We don’t need it here. City staff has the right to know and address the complaints against them, if there are, indeed, any such complaints. Ms. Grassel refuses to discuss the legality of her secret complaint gathering. While probably not unconstitutional, this plan is absolutely without conscience and certainly morally bankrupt.

It’s time Ms. Grassel and Mr. Grafos started working for the good of the city, not its detriment. City staff is not the enemy, or to quote the old Pogo cartoon, “We’ve met the enemy, and they is us.”

 Spokane Valley resident Rose Dempsey, a former City Council member, can be reached by email at jackandrose@phonefish. com


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