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 October, 2005


 Fayette County Commissioners Don't Really Vote!

The Ayes Have it. Sort of

By Al Owens
It’s my personal opinion that the Fayette County Commissioners are the hardest working county commissioners in show business! Why they’re the James Browns of politics. And I have proof.

I’ve watched the August 25th commissioners meeting over and over again on HSTV (Herald-Standard Television in Uniontown) and, from what I’ve been able to determine, that meeting is still going on. I know board chairwoman Angela Zimmerlink called for an adjournment vote - but nobody voted! That means, technically, that that meeting is still in progress.

I started noticing motions that were placed before the commissioners that were passed with little more than a whispered “aye” last winter. It’s puzzled me why nobody else has noticed that. Every motion that gets made, goes something like this:
ANGELA ZIMMERLINK: Question on the motion
JOE HARDY: Question
ANGELA ZIMMERLINK: All in favor say aye.
ANGELA ZIMMERLINK: Motion carries unanimously!

(Sometimes she just says, “Motion carries”. Many times Vicites votes, “aye”, bit very softly. Sometimes Zimmerlink says, “Motion carries unanimously”, just before Vicites says, “aye”. Most of the time Joe Hardy says “Question”, but he hardly ever says “aye” or “nay”. Sometimes Zimmerlink proclaims the motion passes unanimously, even though she hasn’t even bothered to vote herself. Most of the time I’m left wondering if the Amazing Kreskin conducts meetings that way!)

None of this rises to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors. But it does make me wonder why people take the time to speak loudly in the voice of democracy on election days, but the people we vote for don’t seem to care to be heard.

Do me a favor, the next time you get pulled over by a police officer for doing 65 in a school zone, tell him you meant to be going 20! That’s what Fayette County Commissioners do. They mean to affirm those motions. They just never get around to it!

I actually picked up a copy of the minutes of the August 25th meeting to confirm that motions for bids, RFP’s and even terminations were passed “unanimously”, when I didn’t see anybody’s lips move at the time. And sure enough, Angela Zimmerlink (The person who apparently writes and certifies the minutes) had confirmed what I already knew. That, and this is really getting nit-picky, she just may be falsifying legal records. The general public is now left with a ventriloquist’s eye view of their local government. And I really don’t want to think of having Kukla, Fran and Ollie at the center of my government.

Not all local government, mind you. Just the one on Main Street in Uniontown! On Fayette Street, The Uniontown Area School Board is headed by board president Harry Kaufman. I went to a recent meeting to find out if anybody at those board meetings decide that issues are worthy of their ayes and nays. Eight of the nine existing board members were present. Eight of the nine board members could be heard in eight part harmony with each call to vote. And Kaufman even went further. Despite the apparent lack of dissent among the members, he’d still say, “opposed the same”, after calling for “ayes”. What’s even more heartening is he actually waited for somebody’s no vote.

That can’t be said during commissioner’s meetings. Not with repeated calls for votes and repeated poker faced responses. Oh I long for the days when there were near fistfights at every meeting of the Fayette County Board of Commissioners. Maybe I don’t mean that. Well, you know what I was thinking.