Look out, Board of Education members — if you have the audacity to disagree with your colleagues, and then have the gall to share that opinion with this newspaper and its readers, you can expect a public tongue lashing during an official meeting.
That’s precisely what happened to Clayton Mullis at a meeting last week. He bore the brunt of a lengthy diatribe by board chairwoman Candy Burgin at the opening of the meeting for his reckless disclosure that he felt an item of business between the board and the county commissioners wasn’t handled well on the board’s end.
Mullis contacted the Lincoln Times-News after a recent budget presentation to the county commissioners by board member Bob Silver, and was interviewed about his take on the presentation for a story in our May 23 edition.
He didn’t think the presentation was handled as cordially as it could have been. At least one member of the Board of Commissioners agreed regarding the tone of Silver’s remarks — commissioner Carl Robinson was quoted in a May 12 story saying he felt like Silver was “yelling” at the board.
Burgin also took issue with the notion, mentioned in the story, that there was tension between the members of the board. She said they all have a fantastic working relationship, which may be true, but Mullis’s remarks and her public response illustrate that there clearly is a bit of tension on the board, even if it’s between Mullis on one side and everyone else on the other.
Mullis’s rationale for contacting us about his issue with the presentation isn’t clear. True, he’s up for reelection this year and may have been looking to score a few points with the voters. Or he may have felt that sharing his opinion with the public through this paper was his only option, since it’s clear he doesn’t garner a whole lot of respect from at least one of his colleagues.
Whatever the reason, we’re happy to provide a forum to all elected officials to share their views on the news of the day with our readers and the voters. That’s part of what makes this democracy work — a free and fair press is designed to keep its readership informed about what elected officials are doing and their reasoning behind the decisions they make.
That function might not always serve the interests of everyone in power, but it’s a function we believe in wholeheartedly.