Town leaders have questions to answer

To the Editor:

The latest debacle in Oak Bluffs is a reprehensible waste of taxpayer’s hard-earned money, again (“O.B. admits overcharging Uncle Sam,” Jan. 3). And I believe there’s more to come … after all, the FBI doesn’t spend time on our little Island solely for some insurance fraud. As we wait to see what’s next, here are some points to ponder.

It sounds like our town administrator is attempting to blame the company with which the town contracts for these penalties. Well, Mr. Whritenour, the buck stops at the desks of you and Fire Chief Rose. For eight of the past 10 years, the contract was automatically renewed. Your jobs and responsibilities to the taxpayers are to see that our money is wisely spent. You should have been monitoring the contracts and reviewing them yearly.

And the town might be off the hook for the $158,169.52 to Medicare and $23,064.97 to Medicaid, but the taxpayers are not. We pay that through increased premiums for health insurance. Everything costs something! The town keeps raising taxes, but isn’t doing due diligence in how our resources are spent. The people who live here year-round work hard to provide for families and communities. It’s unacceptable for the town to squander that hard-earned money.

Board of selectpersons, where have you been? Rubber-stamping whatever the town administrator serves you? Mr. Packish, you state that you weren’t serving as an elected official when the contract was signed. Fair enough; how many times have you reviewed the contract since elected? The board of selectpersons is responsible for this. You were elected to oversee and safeguard the voters’ interests. You dropped the ball on this one bigtime.

The taxpayers are owed an apology. Chief John Rose has a questionable working history. Did that contribute to this situation? Was attention being focused elsewhere, instead of where it should have been? As for the comment about off-Island ambulance runs having inherent problems … this is true, as it always has been … not new news. Figure it out. It’s your job. Pay attention.

In protest, I am calling on Oak Bluffs citizens to hold back paying ALL taxes until the final date they are due. I will not give the town opportunities to use my hard-earned money for one more day than necessary. In addition, I call upon the board of selectpersons to review the employment of the town administrator and the fire chief. Seems like a lot of smoke is being blown around.

Susan Desmarais
Oak Bluffs