The behavior of the Ely City Council just took another leap up (or, is it down?) the scale of weird.
On Tuesday, a day the Northern Railway is closed, the mayor and two councilmen showed up at the railway offices and demanded entry.
When the railway would not immediately comply, the city officials removed an air conditioner on the building’s second floor and entered the building. Essentially, a break-in. Then they allegedly hacked into the railroad’s financial computer and downloaded its contents.
This action comes in the context of a very public dispute between the city and the railway.
We took the city to task a few weeks back for firing two railway board members citing sketchy concerns about the financial status of the railway.
Now the city does this?
Look, as we’ve editorialized before, the city has every right to be concerned with the railway’s operation. The two entities are joined at the hip in many ways. And the good running of the railway is vital to the economic health of White Pine County.
But there’s a responsible way to do that. And what the city did was most assuredly not responsible or normal.
First, one of the councilman who broke into the railway Tuesday is a former employee of the railway who was dismissed. He’s been vocal about getting back at the railway. The idea that he is in any way involved now with the oversight of the railway (much less part of the break-in team) is a conflict that opens up the city for much criticism.
Second, it is unbecoming in the extreme for the town’s mayor and two councilmen to participate in forcing entry to the railway. They knew the railway was closed. They could have picked any day to inspect the books. But they do it this way? That’s not right.
As we’ve said before, if the city thinks there is something wrong with the railway’s books, they should plainly say specifically what their concerns are and have competent people look at the books to settle the matter. The mayor and the two councilmen are not qualified to do that.
And for goodness sake, don’t jimmy your way into a locked building.
As a side note: When the Ely Times showed up on the scene, our reporter was threatened about reporting the break-in. With all due respect, dear city officials, don’t go there. The Ely Times is not the railway. On behalf of our readers, we do not take kindly to threats about doing our job. — SF