Civility and respect may be qualities largely ignored in Washington, D.C., but our elected leaders in Woodbury County should strive for a higher level of discourse.
Witness a dustup within the Board of Supervisors during debate about whether to pull Woodbury County from membership in three-county (Sioux and Plymouth counties also belong) Sioux Rivers Regional Mental Health and Disability Services, effective July 1, 2018. Supervisors Jeremy Taylor (who recommended Woodbury County leave Sioux Rivers), Matthew Ung and Keith Radig voted for leaving; supervisors Marty Pottebaum and Rocky De Witt voted against leaving.
At one point during discussion of this issue at the Oct. 3 board meeting, decorum was abandoned. The detour to incivility began when Pottebaum questioned Taylor's motive for opposition to county membership in Sioux Rivers.
This exchange followed:
Pottebaum: "That's just wrong, to use this platform, whether it be a personal vendetta or a long-time personal problem."
Taylor: "Point of order, Mr. Chair. We have in our by-laws not assigning or questioning motive, which is exactly what Supervisor Pottebaum's comments are doing."
Pottebaum: "You're absolutely right, because that is what I am doing."
Later, Pottebaum: "Fire me."
Ung: "I cannot fire you, but you are out of order."
Pottebaum: "I'm not sure you're big enough to push me into a corner."
Ung, on Twitter later in the day: "For the record, I decline the sumo wrestling invite. It was never in my campaign postcard and I have a high center of gravity."
To the board, we say this: Argue for your position on the issue, whatever the issue, but follow your board by-laws. Don't get personal. Of course, comments bordering on the physical have absolutely no place in the board room. And, please, drop the snarky comments on social media.
In other words, we believe the supervisors can and should do better than what happened last week.