2012-05-10 / Letters to the Editor

Headline for recent council article is false

I was very surprised to read the headline in the April 26 edition of the Press, which read, “Council decides to give Fort Getty another committee.” The council held a public “workshop” on April 23 where we discussed Fort Getty. Since this was a workshop, no votes were taken, nor decisions made. Besides the glaring misstatement of the headline, the article also makes a few inaccurate statements.

The first sentence of the article reads, “Despite the Town Council’s reluctance to create committees, it looks like they will establish one to address an unyielding controversy: the future of Fort Getty.” I am not sure how this statement could be inferred from comments at the meeting. Only two council members made any mention of a committee – Councilor Winsor and me. Councilor Winsor expressed her desire to create a committee to look at all options for the park while I spoke about creating a committee to implement the Fort Getty Master Plan that was adopted by the council in 2005. With only two council members mentioning a committee, it seems unlikely that a committee would have support.

In the second paragraph, reporter Phil Zahodiakin gave me sole credit for disbanding the Fort Getty Master Plan Committee: “January 4, 2010 – the day when Town Council President Mike Schnack disbanded the Fort Getty Master Plan Committee.” The committee was disbanded by majority vote of the council because the charge of the committee – to update the 1994 plan and present a plan to the council – was completed and adopted in 2005. The committee was not disbanded by prior councils following the completion of the committee’s charge.

In the fifth paragraph, Zahodiakin states, “None of the councilors said they were open to recommendations for scaling back the RV campground, as the 2005 master plan and 2006 land-use plan both proposed.” This statement is false. I advocated for the implementation of the 2005 master plan as adopted, but with a reworking of the land-use plan, which I consider overly ambitious and not providing for a feasible layout of a reduced RV park. Other council members discussed keeping the RV campground, but no one expressed their unwillingness to discuss a scaled back RV park.

In concluding the article, Zahodiakin states, “Consequently, said Schnack, the council will appoint a permanent town committee to work with the rec department, and presumably debate ideas for future uses and infrastructure repairs at the park. He added that the council will also pursue an update to the 2006 land use plan by contracting landscape architects.” The meeting was held as a workshop and no decisions or votes were made. I made a recommendation to implement the existing and adopted Fort Getty Master Plan. The plan includes a recommendation for an implementation committee. I also recommended that the council contract with a specialist to update the land-use plan. Neither of these recommendations holds more weight than recommendations or comments made by other members of the council.

Since the Press is the primary source of information regarding Town Council business for residents, I was shocked by the tone and misstatements of the article. I would hope that in the future the Press and its writers do a better job of reporting what happens at public meetings and doesn’t add subjective comments that appear to camouflage their personal biases.

Mike Schnack

President

Town Council

Editor’s note: The Press published corrections to some of Mike Schnack’s concerns on Page 2 of last week’s edition.

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