Dear Editor,

Webster’s New World College Dictionary, 4th Edition, defines the following: Abuse – (3) a bad, unjust, or corrupt custom or practice

Power – (4)(a) the ability to control others; authority; sway; influence; (b) special authority assigned to or exercised by a person or group holding office; (c) legal ability or authority; also a document giving it

Every citizen of Ely should have attended the City Council meeting of Thursday, October 8, 2015. There, the Mayor exhibited her quest to show us all the power she thinks she has over the City Council and the Railroad Foundation. The fact is, the only power the Mayor has is to conduct meetings of the City Council, vote in a tie and possibly veto a passed agenda item. She has NO power over the Railroad Foundation. She isn’t even a member. I only can hope that the latest members elected this past June are wise enough not to be intimated by her. Remember City Council, you work for me!

The City business was rather routine except for the fact that the Mayor attempted to put decisions regarding the Railroad business under the Consent Agenda. (Consent Agenda items are for routine business such as approval of paying bills, etc). What caught the attention of those attending was the supposedly “interviews” of candidates for three seats on the White Pine Historical Railroad Foundation Management Board.

It is common knowledge that the City and the Railroad have been at odds since the election of Marty Westland to the City Council in 2011. Added to the fire was the election of Bruce Setterstrom in 2013 and appointment, and subsequent election of Mayor Van Camp. The community has been in turmoil and the future of the Railroad, and Ely, are definitely at risk.

My point in writing today is to address the so-called interviews.

No matter what side of the fence you sit, you must agree that the “interviews” were a sham. Sham – (1) a trick or fraud; (2) an imitation that is meant to deceive; counterfeit; (3) a person who is not what he or she pretends to be; fraud; imposter; (4) not genuine or real; false; counterfeit; pretended

Every Council member, Mayor, Attorney, and Administrator had a fudicary duty to stop unlawful practices of the City Council and Mayor as they were occurring. It was very apparent by the line of questioning whom the Mayor favored. (More on the Mayor’s responsibilities, or lack of them, are addressed later.)

Anyone with common sense, and our elected officials, should know that there are laws governing the interview process. Just to name two:

1. All candidates must be asked the questions in the same manner.

2. Candidates should not be allowed to hear said questions until called for their interview.

The list of no-no questions is long. The drilling of Mr. Gianoli regarding his family’s financial contributions to the railroad is the one foremost in my mind. That was a big– no, HUGH, no-no. The so-called interviews amounted to a witch hunt. Wake up elected officials, why do I have to point this out? The Mayor is quick to point out that she reads everything. Reading is one thing, understanding is another!

For background information, the Foundation is made up of two bodies: the Trustees (City Council members) and the Management Board (5 members nominated, not appointed, by the Mayor and approved by the Trustees. i.e. The Mayor has NOTHING further to do with the Foundation -PERIOD. Why was she a part of the interview process? She in not a Trustee. This is more abuse of self-appointed power.

When a meeting of the White Pine Historical Railroad Foundation Management Board is called to order, City Council members cease to be City Council. They are now Trustees. So, why are these meetings held in conjunction with the City of Ely meetings? Why does the Mayor keep her seat at the table? The gavel is turned over to the President of the Trustees who is in charge of the meeting. Good questions. The City of Ely has no business attempting to control the Foundation. This is stated in the by-laws. So, why after agenda items heard under the Foundation, does the City Council feel they have to approve? Once the Foundation meeting is closed, the Trustees go back to being City Council members. Remember, the City of Ely has NO control over the Foundation! You guessed it, it is illegal! Once again, once the Foundation meeting is closed, the Trustees revert back to being City Council members and the City Council has NO control over the Foundation. More abuse of self-appointed power.

According to founding documents, the Mayor can ONLY nominate Management Board members. The Mayor has NO veto powers within the Foundation. The Mayor is not part of the Foundation. When her nominations did not pass, she said she would use her veto power. She has NO power over Foundation business, therefore she has no veto power. And, Mayor, you cannot veto some thing that doesn’t pass! Once again, abuse of self-appointed power.

I was recently asked why I attend City and County meetings. The answer is simple. When I vote, I want to be as sure as I can that I am backing the persons I feel best represent me. If I’m not happy with their representation, they don’t get a second chance. After researching both sides of issues, I form my opinion. I don’t always have to agree with their decisions,  but what I have to see is that they are independent thinkers and are NOT influenced by the peers. The only way you can truly know what is going on is to be there. And by the way, don’t expect to hear what is going on. You cannot hear because some of your representatives won’t use microphones in fear of you actually hearing what they are saying.

When stupidity is running the government, is it not better to do away with government? Just another reason for disincorporation. Think about it and I hope to see you at the next meeting.

Lin Burleigh