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Unanswered questions linger after Couch reinstatement

POSTED September 8, 2017 1:52 p.m.

 Dear editor,

Transparency in our local government has been a hot topic recently. Four City Councilmen, the ones who voted to allow a city employee, who was suspended for refusing to perform his job, need to be transparent and state why they choose to stop a hearing from taking place addressing the charges leveled against Mr. Couch.

A motion was made to reinstate the employee, but as discussion began, one of the four called for the vote, stopping any further discussion. WHY? What do these four councilmen have to hide, what does Mr. Couch have to hide? Why did he not want the hearing he requested, a hearing that would have lifted the suspicion of wrongdoing to the thousands people who were not coming to the meetings in support of him?

Unfortunately, it appears Mr. Couch merely became a pawn in the character assassination effort against Mr. Partington, Mayor Allison, and four City Council people who chose to want Mr. Couch to have his requested hearing. This harassing effort was waged on Couch’s behalf by a group of loud supporters making threats, and claiming corruption with out a single substantiated fact ever being stated by them.

The very obvious questions are:

Why would these four Councilmen choose to do this? What did they have to gain to stop a hearing that would have brought actual truth out, a hearing which had been delayed for more than a month, not by the city, but by the suspended employee and his attorney.

Why would they not allow discussion of this at the Council meeting? They stopped discussion which had started, by calling the vote. What were they afraid may come out? When did it become City Policy to allow a employee reprimanded for not doing their job to simply go back to work without the need to address it?

Did these four councilmen forget what really happened, and who it actually concerned? An employee refused to do his job and when asked if he would do his job, he said NO he would not. The unfounded allegations made against Mr. Partington, the Mayor, and other council people appear to be nothing more than an attempt to divert attention from the real truth of what took place.

A statement was made that since Mr. Partington was no longer employed by the city, the issue of Mr. Couch refusing to do his job no longer existed. This never was about Mr. Partington, he was simply the person who delivered the reprimand to an employee, because it was part of what his job entailed as City Administrator.

This is not about City audits being needed, or other portions of the city investigated, if those things are needed, then those things should be done. But those are completely separate issues. They have no bearing whatsoever on the employment issue which was to be dealt with.

The vote to reinstate Mr. Couch without a hearing may have been an answer to a few hundred, but it has left the truth unrevealed to thousands.

Mark Bitter

Great Bend


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porcupine69: September 9, 2017 5:52 p.m.

Transparency is a concept that should be considered universally, by all interested parties. It works both ways.

Fact is, "transparency" has not been one of the strongest traits of our city council for a long time...

Let me remind Mark Bitter, that, prior to the suspension of Chief Couch, the five council members (Allison as the tie-breaker), voting to fire Chief Couch, were never "transparent", or forthcoming with any information about his suspension, citing "personnel" issues...a term which I think has become a very convenient spin amongst civil leadership, in many areas, to choke the facts.

The same questions Mark Bitter asks about the vote to re-instate Chief Couch, are just as valid as the vote to terminate him:

"WHY? What do these four councilmen have to hide...?"

"Why would these four Councilmen choose to do this?"

"Why would they not allow discussion of this at the Council meeting?

There was never any discussion allowed, let alone discussed at any of the Council meetings prior to the strong "Support Couch Movement"..

Does Mark Bitter actually think that the people supporting Cliff Couch are a bunch of grass roots morons with no interest in the good of our town?

The taxpayers of Great Bend, now a younger generation, have become fed up with the stagnant economy of our town, with little opportunity besides fast food employment, and the closed-door, backroom politics that have existed for 36 years.

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