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Chatham commissioner Sally Kost's intimidation tactics discourage citizen input

By Heather Johnson
Posted Friday, June 24, 2011

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Pittsboro, NC - Thank you for the opportunity to address the board today. I want to thank you and let you know how much you are supported for the great actions that you have been taking the last six months. A lot of us are dressed in red today absolutely in solidarity for your expediency to carrying out the responsibilities of our government and getting Chatham moving again.

I want to speak to the issue of citizen input. In recent decisions made by our Board of Commissioners, there have been multiple opportunities for citizen input; in fact, some would say more opportunities than there ever have been. Thanks to our Board of Commissioners who are hearing all citizens, and even when you are not in agreement, thank you for respecting citizens‘ positions. Thank you for always treating your fellow commissioners with dignity and respect, even though you don‘t always agree.

We have witnessed Commissioner Sally Kost yell at and demean her fellow commissioners

For years, we as citizens have been attending these meetings. It was common place for our commissioners, who work for us, that when they are taking comments by people with opposing views, we would encounter argumentative commissioners. Commissioners that became defensive and interrupted our comments and statements and made us feel small. We don‘t hear this behavior by the body that we have now and I want to thank you for that. You also listen quietly. You thank those who come to speak to you. After all, you work for us.

In recent days, we have witnessed Commissioner Sally Kost yell at and demean her fellow commissioners. It is very unprofessional and disrespectful. I was yelled at in the hallway after a recent meeting. I am a citizen. I don‘t deserve to be intimidated. I am a citizen that deserves to be part of this process just like anybody else here.

All of the calls in the last week that citizens have not had the opportunity to participate have been false and have been encouraged by Mrs. Kost. There have been two public hearings on the budget. The budget has been on-line. We had a well-attended retreat in February.

In intimidating citizens, it is absolutely not encouraging citizen input. There is one commissioner that I have seen that from and that is Commissioner Kost. Additionally, Mrs. Kost, your Facebook page includes references by you and your supporters to get pitchforks against our fellow commissioners. While you say this is an innocent term, I would say that if it were Republicans or any of my fellow Tea Party Patriots, you would call us extremists out for violence. I am asking you to call for calm from your supporters.

Ms. Heather Johnson made these comments during the public input session of the Commissioners' meeting on June 6.

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Chatham commissioner Sally Kost's intimidation tactics discourage citizen input
Is Chatham County commissioner Sally Kost behaving badly?