Letter to the Editor

Joe Moss is not what transparency looks like

There is more bad news from Ottawa County about transparent government. Tuesday there was an amendment proposed to the rules to allow “Commissioner Comments and Questions” as a part of the regular order. Commission Chair Joe Moss, was “not interested” in having commissioner comments, or what he called a “commissioner free for all” enshrined in the rules. He wants “well-run, orderly, organized meetings.” He also thinks “open-ended discussion, maybe, is best handled outside the boardroom, where you can go back and forth with each other."

I would focus your attention on the word “handled.”

I think Joe Moss is trying to hide his weak arguments from public scrutiny, forcing commissioners who are not “in his pocket” to go one on one with him in private. This is not what transparency looks like. Some of the other commissioners made some deeply cynical and hypocritical defenses of rejecting the rule based on not wanting to be surprised, which is, ironically, the one thing the Ottawa Impact group is most famous for doing to others.

Joe Moss wins a lot of 6-5 votes because five commissioners seem incapable of voting for anything he does not support, giving him the power to steamroll any and all opposition. His “faithful five” votes come from Gretchen Cosby, Lucy Ebel, Sylvia Rhodea, Roger Belknap and Allison Miedema. He is trying to hide his disagreements with those who oppose him.

I am asking the general public of Ottawa County to express to the board how they feel about having the “back and forth” of governing Ottawa County hidden from view. I am also asking Joe Moss and his “Faithful Five” to amend the rules just as Doug Zylstra requested and to sacrifice their tidy little meetings for sharing the full story on how our county government is run.

David Barnosky

West Olive

This article originally appeared on The Holland Sentinel: Letter to the Editor: Joe Moss is not what transparency looks like