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home : opinions : letters to the editor   May 27, 2016

3/11/2014 10:17:00 AM
Letters to the editor: Referendum embodies citizens' basic capacity to change

Depending on where you get your news these days, it’s not unusual to hear story after story about Americans who feel their basic rights are under assault. One case after another tells of individuals or groups who are at odds with some government agency, taxing body, or even their local city council. Those of us who pay attention to the actions of the Peru city council have witnessed a number of instances over the past several years that our founding fathers would certainly not approve of. The tendency of the Peru city council to conduct numerous “Closed” meetings should be of concern to anyone who believes that government works best when itoperates in the “Open”. I am disturbed by the ease at which Peru’s mayor and a majority of aldermen have embraced the “Closed Session” meeting as the norm. I understand the need for closed meetings to address issues like the recent payroll investigation involving unauthorized overtime approved by Mayor Harl.

What I do not agree with is the reluctance of all but one alderman to shine any daylight on the scandal. Only Rodney Perez demanded accountability in open meeting after the investigation was complete. The other seven aldermen said “nothing” and just seemed to want it all to go way. Just recently the city council, prompted by Alderman Dave Waldorf, introduced an ordinance that will impose a “Social Media Policy” on city employees which would essentially prohibit employees and family members from expressing any type of “criticism” of Peru elected officials on social media.

I’m hopeful the citizens of Peru will determine on March 18 that we can do better by supporting the referendum for at-large aldermen. Government is “us”, not someone else, and we have the capacity to change it.

Tom Riordan,

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