I attend most Washington County Board meetings, especially in the fall when the budget for the next year is being worked out. During the last two meetings I took the opportunity to speak, as the public is allowed to give a short, less-than-five-minute comment to the board.
Both weeks I made short comments regarding the 2013 budget and the $157 million in debt the county is in, along with the $7 million we lose every year in interest charges alone. I came prepared with my facts straight, having spoke with Commissioners Lehrke and Kriesel the weeks before about my concerns.
However, the reason I write is that this last meeting I attended I clearly saw Commissioner Weik complaining to the board chair, Commissioner Hegberg, about me before the Tuesday meeting on Sept. 25. She was obviously unaware I can lip read (a nursing skill you pick up).
She said, "Isn't there something we can do about him? (While looking at me.) This is ridiculous, having to listen to a lecture on spending and debt every week. I swear if he starts talking about spending again I'll stop him if you don't!"
Commissioner Hegberg responded to Weik saying he understands her frustration, but I do have the right to speak.
I admire Commissioner Hegberg's response because he is usually side by side with Weik on votes, often echoing each other's support for spending projects they back. Although I don't approve of Weik's liberal spending record, I do respect her perspective and always listen to her responses before she votes.
The least she could do is listen to me and the taxpayers of Washington County who are very concerned with the direction we are headed. Instead I find her ignoring me while I speak and side stepping my concerns.
—Matt Bening, Stillwater