Once again, at the July 26 Red Wing City Council meeting, Dean Hove’s attitude toward Mayor Mike Wilson was unprofessional and in-your-face disrespectful. In response to being asked why he rejected the mayor's Port Authority Board nominee, Hove answered with his signature finger-pointing gesture: "I don't have to give you a reason."
Hove was wrong about that, but if that wasn't enough, the other City Council members followed suit, refusing to say why they were against the nomination. Sadly, such a petty display of childish pique and clique has become the norm. We can hardly be surprised if Hove and the usual suspects he aligns with honestly don't think they need to give the mayor -- or residents -- an explanation for why they do what they do or vote as they vote. This council, after all, has never been big on transparency, and they seem to have lost their place in the greater scheme of things.
When the mayor asks a question, he asks both for his office and on behalf of residents. When council members show disrespect and contempt for the mayor they also show disrespect and contempt for those who voted for him.
The very suggestion that “We the People” do not need or deserve to know why and on what grounds council members reject or approve an appointment is contrary to the basic tenet of local governing bodies: that those levels of government closest to the people should be most immediately open, transparent, responsive and responsible to the people.
In an interesting twist, which raises questions about the way in which council does business, some members agreed to maybe talk to the mayor later about this matter. If done, this wouldn’t be part of the open meeting process. Anything said would in effect be on the QT, behind closed doors and outside public view and participation. Given their refusal to explain or show their work in public, I have to wonder if this isn't council's preferred method of doing business. If nothing else, it might explain how council members acted in agreement in the absence of public discussion.
Patricia Allende de Jung