Clarification on council meeting

EDITOR:

During the last Escanaba council meeting I read a rebuttal to Mr. Berthiaume’s Letter to the Editor that was published and read at the July 19th council meeting. Some portions of his letter were published in a story on the front page of the Daily Press and I felt need to clarify, as my character and intelligence were attacked. While writing the rebuttal I included comments made by someone who came into my office saying similar things to Mr. Berthiaume. I edited them out prior to reading them at the meeting because that person has not been vocal since. In doing so I edited out “called my place of business vs. came into my place of business.”

My statement should have read: “Mr. Berthiaume called my place of business, started with a conversation, didn’t hear what he wanted and proceeded to threaten that if council did not hire his friend he would do an investigation with many FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests. I respectfully listened and then reminded him that he was not a council member anymore and that I would review all resumes that we received and place my vote to hire the most qualified candidate. The quote he woefully misquoted was ‘If your friend is the most qualified after we go thru the process that’s great, if not then you will have to accept it.’ Mr. Berthiaume gave me the impression that he thought he was more qualified than I am to serve on city council. I wanted to remind him that he served only two years and four months of a four-year council term from 2004 until 2006 before he resigned.”

I stand by our hiring of our city clerk and the process. Our deputy clerk continues to have her job and we are well served in our new city clerk/IT administrator. There was nothing underhanded, and I personally did not know any of the candidates other than brief conversations while doing business at City Hall.

Mr. Berthiaume attempts to keep this “issue” alive with accusations and assumptions about actions and motives. I want to reiterate what my motive was and is for running for Escanaba City Council.

My motive is to be responsible and effective with taxpayer dollars, to make our city the most customer (taxpayer) friendly that it can be and to hire the very best people we can. Hence, my insistence that we put the job description on “Indeed,” a job search website, to attract qualified candidates nationwide.

I will continue to make tough decisions that are for the benefit and advancement of our community as a whole, even if one or two people try to discredit those decisions or even me personally. I will continue to listen to the majority and make decisions accordingly.

Thank you to the 12,000 plus citizens of Escanaba who trust our decision. We have many other important decisions and this needs to be put to rest.

Peggy O’Connell

Schumann

Escanaba City Council member