Saturday, May 25, 2024

It's not too late to right Dalton ship

| May 23, 2021 1:00 AM

Careful what you wish for.

Nearly 1,000 residents of Dalton Gardens, upset with the perceived progressive agenda of their city leaders two springs ago, unleashed their fury in a recall election that ousted longtime Mayor Steve Roberge and two of the four city council members. Without a quorum, the city was unable to function until temporary fill-ins were appointed.

That autumn, November 2019, Dalton voters swept out the entire council, with distrust in government cited as a common complaint. The council that now runs the city — some would say the council majority is running it into the ground — consists of Mayor Dan Edwards and council members Aaron O’Brien, Ray Craft, Carrie Chase and council president Robert Wuest.

On Thursday, Mayor Edwards agreed to meet with Press reporter Craig Northrup, and what ensued was one of the most extraordinary local interviews in years.

After The Press had noticed Dalton city employees and contractors leaving their jobs en masse, Edwards said Wuest, Chase and Craft have failed to do the jobs they were elected to do, refusing to heed the recommendations of professionals hired to advise the city on engineering and legal matters.

Further, Edwards said, the trio will not pay dedicated, competent employees anywhere close to what they’re worth. Result: Unless something dramatic changes, and changes quickly, the 2,800 or so residents of Dalton Gardens, Idaho, will be shut out of their City Hall starting this Thursday.

Edwards’ views were backed by the one council member who would talk to The Press, Aaron O’Brien. We would gladly share the other side of the story, but that’s not possible when the other side won’t talk.

The elected body that has made unfortunate national headlines by considering bow hunting in city limits to reduce the deer population stands on the verge of far greater turmoil and outright disservice to the community. There’s still time to right this ship, however.

Dalton citizens should demand that their elected officials do their jobs, which means keeping intact the services residents are paying for. That involves treating staff and valued contractors with respect, paying competitive wages and embracing public service — the public service they vowed they would deliver — with the honor it deserves.

Being annexed by another city is almost unimaginable — yet possible unless citizens demand better of their leaders now.