To the Editor:
In a dramatic page one, four-column headline, the Reporter took a not so subtle swipe at Supervisor Dougherty. Although the budget is not due until November 20 the Reporter could have been a bit more reflective on the roots of the fiscal problem we now face on Shelter Island rather than imply the supervisor is not performing his duties.
The Reporter could have pointed out that of the current makeup of the Town Board, four were in office and voted for the generous labor contracts and employment benefits that are directly implicated in the current fiscal crisis. Sure, 2005 to 2007 were headier times, but it is now time to pay the piper and the board needs to show some political courage and offer ideas about job cuts and give backs and not hide behind the political cover that it is the supervisor’s sole responsibility to take this action.
The Reporter further confuses a confusing issue by throwing around hypothetical doomsday scenarios along with a blinding array of statistics including percentage and dollar revenue shortfalls along with a scatter- shot presentation of the cuts that have been already made by other surrounding towns. If the Reporter were not editorializing on page one a more suitable headline could have been “No consensus reached by Town Board on budget.”
In its editorial, “The inevitable math of our gloomy budget,” the Reporter continues its biased overview by stating other towns have already announced employee cuts as if these realities aren’t going to be pushed by the supervisor.
The editorial also states that in the past the Town Board had shown it can openly navigate the budget process with a sharp scissor. Yes, for sure, but does the Reporter suggest in its editorial that the Town Board will not reach a consensus and do the same during this year’s budget process? In its closing sentence, the editorial takes the easy way out by leaving these inevitable actions as an open question.
RICHARD A. SMITH