As many readers already know, we do not agree with almost everything that has happened in the village of Forestville in recent years. Its taxes have doubled. Its former clerk was not competent. And, Chautauqua County may have been conned into loaning the entity $150,000.
But we do agree with a portion of a letter written by Mayor Kevin Johnson in regard to the chaos, poor decisions and lack of management in the past.
"I believe that some of the problems comes from the citizens' trust in its elected officials - which normally is a good thing - but in our case went too far," he wrote July 22. "The people of Forestville should be able to trust its elected officials and officers, but verification that their actions are, indeed, correct is a necessity."
Johnson's comments, in this portion of the letter, are right on the money. Oftentimes those who are elected in small towns and villages are not chosen because they are capable of doing a thankless job. They win elections for one of two reasons: they are popular in the area or they are the only one running for the position.
No elected officials, however, deserve a pass in our region. For 50 years, we have deteriorated as a county. In some areas, it looks bleaker today than it has ever.
Albany is always in the equation, but residents have to be accountable. Look at who runs your local government and watch their voting record.
Residents in Forestville are responsible for the errors of previous village leaders. They live in a democracy, where we are allowed to freely speak up and question. If they shrugged their shoulders - and many did - then those villagers allowed mismanagement to happen.
Other north county residents are just as responsible for watching what their governments and schools are doing.
All can appreciate and respect the positions those elected hold. But a trust factor always goes too far. Those elected make decisions - a great deal of the time - for the benefit of the entity they serve.
They would, instead, be better off putting those who still live in their community first.