A significant decision was made at the Polson City Commissioner meeting this past Monday evening (12-3-12). The question to be decided by vote was whether or not to express “intent” to offer the City Manager, Todd Crossett, a contract six months from now when the current one expires. The majority vote decided AGAINST.
That evening, an organized group of supporters was present to express their support for Mr. Crossett. I am sure several people expressed honest positive experiences. Personally, my experiences have been different as I have found Mr. Crossett to be very adversarial. After the vote, his supporters were clearly disappointed. Some expressed anger. My purpose in writing this piece is not to debate the city manager’s job performance or his personal character. My purpose is to address the lady who loudly exclaimed, “So much for the will of the people.”
As I see it, her comment clearly expresses the problem here in Polson with the current city manager. A group of people have been working closely with Mr. Crossett. They have shared visions and goals. Because of the city manager’s support, they wrongly assume their vision and goals are correct and therefore “the will of the people.” They wear blinders.
The group I am referring to has different names, but the players are the same: Greater Polson Community Foundation, Envision Polson, and the Orton Family Foundation Heart and Soul Project. Last year, under the name of Envision Polson, a survey was conducted. They claimed to want to know what people thought about eight goals “they” set. It seems excessive, but goals 5, 6, 7 and 8 include trails (walking, hiking, and biking) in some aspect. That explains why the city manager talks excessively about trails and actively pursues plans to make it happen, including a very costly chunk UNDER the Highway 93 bridge. His familiar line is, “There’s a lot of support for this.”
The survey results did not indicate support for these trails. In fact, the percentage of positive support was quite low. Did it cause the group to pause and rethink their plans? No. One question specifically asked if there was interest in Polson hosting a triathlon. Only 29 people (11%) expressed favor. Shortly after the survey results were released, Penny Jarecki (who plays a leading role in ALL three above mentioned groups) publically announced that a trail was being built in Riverside Park for the triathlon. So, we have a self-appointed group working with an unelected city manager to fulfill their personal visions. It is also interesting to note that the same Envision Polson survey revealed the belief that Polson has a “good old boys club” that runs the city. My reply to the lady who lamented about “the will of the people” is a suggestion to take a step outside her “group think box” and look around.