Commentary: Milford City Council ‘appears to be in chaos’

As a 20-plus year resident of Ward 2 and active community member in Milford, my credibility in writing this, and most importantly, my moral obligation to do so, is hereby stated. It is no secret that the Milford City Council has forced the resignation of yet another city manager. And yes, shockingly, there was a leak on council before any public notice. It is mystifying to me that your oath of office is taken so lightly. One could conclude from this occurrence that executive sessions are not “closed door.”

All of you verbalize that you want to promote economic development, build a community mentality and provide for a safe and healthy environment for your constituents, but have been unwilling to allow a leader to shape and manage those goals. Your track record for city managers is like a revolving door.

It is no wonder that the public sentiment is one of apathy and disdain. Council meetings are open to the public with minimal public comment opportunities and no online streaming. While I have made a concerted effort to attend regularly, because you work for me, and you are accountable to me and fellow taxpayers, it does not go unnoticed that you use your constituents to advance your personal agendas.

Unlike your seats on council, I, as a taxpayer have no say in the future of the city manager you hire. Be assured, however, the city will suffer greatly if your “good old boys” culture continues to challenge qualified, ethical and hard-working candidates, including female applicants from applying. They simply will look at your track record and choose to go elsewhere to work.

I recently visited Bellefonte, Pensylvania after being gone for 20 years. It was obvious that their Mainstreet development is a priority and their local park/green space is inviting to all ages. It is a true public/private partnership effort with a repurposed match factory complex, playground equipment, public restrooms, fountains and even a pollination garden.

I left there imagining that the local government is in concert about how to “advance their city” and I look forward to a return visit soon. Milford residents should expect nothing less from our City Council. Your lack of support of downtown whether it’s attending events or simply shopping local is blatant and inexcusable.

It is your responsibility to move Milford forward without your personal agendas or personal inadequacies getting in the way. Your fiduciary responsibility to your constituents is paramount, and if that includes tax hikes to save the city from bankruptcy because you have continuously used the “reserves” to fund your agendas, then so be it. The time is now for the bleeding to stop, however, from how you spend our tax dollars on severance packages and new hire searches to who chooses another municipality to set up shop because our local government appears to be in chaos.

All they have to do is attend one council meeting to know this. Bring on the public comment and live streaming. Until it comes time for your reelection, you collectively are the City Council and bear the cross of each other’s behavior “on and off the court”. So, while this communication may not apply to everyone, all of you bear the cross of how this looks. In addition to being accountable to your oath, the city, and your constituents, YOU are responsible to each other.

In conclusion, I hope you will concertedly seize your opportunity to “do the right thing” moving forward as a council. Make We Are Milford what I believe we all intend it to mean. You owe it to yourselves and your oath of office, if not to your constituents and taxpayers. Thank you.

Nina Pletcher is a resident of Milford.

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