Source: Sherman Publications

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Letter to the editor
Let elected officials know we care, are watching

August 24, 2011

Dear Editor,

I am thrilled that we have two incredible gems taking shape for all to enjoy. The newly opened Wildwood Pavilion and soon to be opened Orion Center will no doubt provide many opportunities for enjoyment within our great community. I am concerned, however, with the lack of interest among more members in our community regarding how our tax dollars are spent. We need to let our local elected officials know we care and are watching them. 

Let me share some recent examples that are cause for concern. At a special meeting on Aug. 18, a no-bidpromotions contract was approved by a vote of 6-1 for the promotion of Wildwood and Orion Center. Orion Township received no other competitive bids for a contract worth a minimum of $52,500 (potentially much, much more), which included a retainer fee of $12,500 and a monthly fee of $2,500.

My beef is not with the gentleman who received the contract, good for him. I personally had several questions and hoped they'd be asked. Why not receive other bids? Is there someone in Orion Township who can promote our facilities, or a different way? Have we checked references / past clients? Has the promoter worked on similar projects and what were his results? Why are we paying a monthly fee and 15 percent of all donations acquired, and 10% cash value of all in-kind donations, and $1 per ticket? Unfortunately, those questions were not asked. Instead, at the Aug. 4 special meeting a motion was passed to send the contract to the attorney and return it to the Board for consideration at the next regular Board meeting on Aug. 15.

So why then, was the matter not on the agenda for the regular meeting that day, but instead added last minute to the Thursday, Aug. 18special (non-televised) meeting? Something stinks. I spoke with two current board members who stated they received a copy of the contract the night of the meeting. How can you vote on a contract you haven't even had a chance to study?

If you've been watching the meetings, it's been stated multiple times over the past month that the board members are either not receiving the contracts to review, or receiving them the night they are expected to take action. How about reading the contract before voting on it? (What was Nancy Pelosi's famous quote? Do we have to approve the contract, to see what is in the contract?) Also, I'm disappointed that on recent expenditures, board members have stated they are confused and don't completely understand what we are purchasing, only to turn around and vote in favor of the expenditures. What's the rush? 

I'm concerned. Are you? Don't take my word on it folks, see for yourself. Ask questions. When the answers don't make sense, ask more questions. Remember, they represent us, they are spending our money. What do you want Orion to look like in five years? Who is with me? Will you get involved? See you Monday nights. We need you! 

Chris Barnett