OUR VIEW: Better to let political process take its course

By Daily News • Last Updated 10:48 am on Wednesday, June 27, 2012

We are more than a little disappointed that yet another recall effort is in the works, this one in Belding.

At issue, is the Board of Education’s decision to privatize the district’s custodial services to a third-party vendor at the recommendation of their administration and after months of study. The decision was not made lightly and in the end the district will save an anticipated $802,000 over a three-year period. That is not chump change and in the environment the district finds itself in with declining enrollments, it likely is only the first of many such moves that will be needed to right the finances of the system. Transportation and sports may not be far behind.

Of greater concern to us is the idea of a recall effort mounted against President Tom Humphreys and Vice President Timothy Flynn, both long serving and knowledgeable members of the board. Both have served multiple terms and have been re-elected to their positions many times. They know their district and they understand the complicated finance issues facing all of Michigan’s education systems.

However, our goal is not to pick sides with or against the individuals involved, but rather to voice our displeasure at the idea that a recall effort is being started because a difficult decision was made against the wishes of some. Understand the political process. We elect those that represent us (whether school board or senator) to act and decide issues in our best interest. Ultimately, though, decision making is a personal choice and is undertaken with full knowledge of the relevant facts each case presents. We believe the recall should be used only in cases of criminal conduct, malfeasance, dishonesty and other egregious conduct. It should not be used because a board or committee made a tough decision that “went against the grain.” Elected officials are put in the position of making many tough calls and it is not easy work. They should not be looking over their shoulders while making every decision. If that’s the case, we’ll never get their best. Of course, the ultimate recall comes when Misters Humphrey and Flynn come up for re-election in 2013 and 2014 and that is as it should be.

While proponents of this particular recall effort state that it will not cost the taxpayers any additional funds because of its position on the general election ballot in November, the idea of another effort by a disaffected group just doesn’t sit right with us. This only further proves that public service in these times of fiscal constraint is no easy task. While we sympathize with the victims in this case, the political process must be allowed to take its natural course.

Editorial opinions are the consensus of The Daily News editorial board.

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