Shrug your shoulders if you serve

Richard Morrisroe, in his recent commentary defending the actions by the Dunkirk Housing Authority, made some excellent points most residents — especially voters — almost never consider before going to the polls during the elections.

In defending the authority board members who have faced some recent tumult in the commentary published Aug. 20, Morrisroe noted most chosen to oversee the agency with $5 million in assets have very little background on governing.

“They, by design, have no formal housing authority management training, and they don’t play housing authority administrator, not even on TV,” the authority’s attorney wrote. “Like board members of most nonprofits, agencies and commissions, they are not staff. They are fiduciaries. It is not their job to be administrators. Some mistakes were bound to occur.”

It nearly sums up perfectly our municipal governments and school districts as well. Do you truly believe who you choose for county legislator is a financial wizard and understands a more than $150 million annual budget? Do you think those running for municipal boards have a good handle on their own finances before allowing them to oversee a pot of millions of dollars?

The same can be asked of school district board members, who outside of Chautauqua County government, handle the big bucks — most of which come directly from Albany.

Remember, scandal and government are nearly synonymous.

So yes, Mr. Morrisroe, we understand the plight of the Dunkirk Housing Authority board. They are all appointed. And if they do not believe — like any other elected official — they can stand the heat, then they can resign or turn down the appointment.

Our area needs to quit coddling the people we put in charge of large sums of money. It is decades of poor stewardship of those funds that continues to play a role in the area’s mismanagement and struggles.


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