I am writing – again – about the city council issues in Great Bend, and I’d like to clear up a few details.
First, let me share a little background on the situation. My public forum letter, Aug. 6th Tribune, told the story about our police chief, who was suspended through city administrator Partington’s actions. Chief Cliff Couch “dared to disagree” with Howard – and refused to follow what he believed to be dishonest and unethical orders, and actually spoke to the city council about the needs of his police department!
Why do I choose to believe Chief Couch – a man with a master’s degree in law enforcement; who served his country with honor in the United States Marine Corps; and whose personal moral standards would not allow him to lie or break the law?
I personally had several issues, dealing with Howard, during my city council term, 1998-2000, and I still support Chief Couch 100 percent!
Since Couch’s suspension, our city council meetings have brought very large crowds; council man Mike Boys did his own research and now supports reinstating Chief Couch; the fire chief retired; city administrator Partington retired suddenly, amid controversy; city council man Wayne Henneke resigned; and then Mayor Mike Allison and council members Allene Owen, Joel Jackson and Vicki Berryman, did not show up to a special meeting called for Aug. 18th – to get key positions covered. The large crowd was there; the news stations were there; many members of our wonderful law enforcement were there; council men Dana Dawson, Cory Zimmerman, Brock McPherson, and Mike Boys were all there – but the meeting could not take place because at least one more voting member had to be there.
Now – some people and businesses are being told that those who support Chief Couch are anti-Great Bend! This small group of people, who seem to think they control our city and what we should believe, are giving away “I (heart) GB” shirts and paying for huge, full page ads in the paper saying “Positively Great Bend” across the top. While I LOVE the idea of the T-shirts, do these printed words have anything to do with what’s been going on? Do they really think T-shirts and ads are going to change our minds about what is good and right and TRUE? Do they really think we are that stupid?
I TRULY believe that the MANY concerned citizens standing up for transparency, honesty and integrity in our local government, ARE the people who care about Great Bend and want to protect it! I love this city! I grew up here and I raised my family here! I’ve served on the city council, belonged to many organizations, and started my own child care business here more than 32 years ago! I also started and continue to head the Great Bend Military Moms, and this awesome community constantly amazes me through their loving and ongoing support of this project! I LOVE GREAT BEND – and only want what is BEST for this city! My parents taught me that there is honor in doing the right thing, in speaking out against those who take advantage of – or bully others, and against corruption and dishonesty! I am hearing from so many others who also believe in these attributes! So – let’s all stop the childish behavior; get back to work; reinstate our police chief; take the necessary steps to help ALL of our first responder HEROES; work to make our city government more transparent and efficient; and do what it takes to make Great Bend GREATER!
Leslie (Halbower) Barrett