Trust only if you are certain

I take serious exception to Mr. John Lesinski’s March 2 letter to the editor titled, “Trust but Verify.” In his letter his primary theme centers on the statement that, “Unfortunately, we are now witnessing a surprising and disheartening lack of trust by a vocal minority in our community and between some elected and appointed officials in our local government.” So he quotes President Reagan but personally, having met the president, I am convinced that Reagan meant Trust but Verify to be viewed as cynical, that he did not trust the Russians in the least.

Mr. Lesinski’s view apparently is based on recent events like an article by John McCaslin in the Rappahannock News discussing County Treasurer Ms. Debbie Knick’s Feb. 15 letter to the Rappahannock County Board of Supervisors and perhaps a letter to the editor which appeared in the Feb. 9 edition of the Rappahannock News, in which Castleton resident Mr. Michael A. Cioffi drew attention to “questionable county expenses.” Yes there also have also been numerous less than laudatory articles posted on the Rappnet list serve dealing with county governmental performance.

My disagreement with Mr. Lesinski is that he feels it is a lack of trust by a vocal minority. I feel confident that it is not a minority. The thrust of much of what he sees as lack of trust is in reality a simple desire that the county’s business be conducted in an open and transparent manner that follows the established laws/rules/procedures for doing the government’s business. Mr. Lesinski has apparently forgotten that when he cites Benjamin Franklin as exclaiming to all Americans that the constitutional convention had produced a republic, “if you can keep it” is the definition of a republic. The irony in this is that a republic is a government of laws, not of men who make decisions in the dark of night in favor of a select few friends or associates of those wielding government power and responsibilities.

I would say that any and all excuses raised about turnover in government personnel at this time as causing problems are nothing but excuses. I believe that our elected, appointed or hired personnel need to fully understand and perform those responsibilities associated with their positions. They must be literate in what the law (be it state or county) requires of them, willing to do that job and not hide behind excuses such as we don’t get paid, or there is no guidance, or whatever. Perhaps something as simple as having a job description available for every job, especially for the various boards, commissions and authorities would solve that issue. If the job is too much for them, they should never accept it or step down and let a more willing individual do the job. Otherwise we will see our tax dollars squandered or worse, we will see our taxes rise because of the governmental shortcomings.

Bill Freitag
Flint Hill

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