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Opinion

As the incoming commissioner in the Port Washington Garbage District, I attended the final district meeting of the year to get a flavor for the proceedings before beginning my term in January. True to his word, in his final meeting as commissioner, Jerry Devine motioned the commissioners to institute absentee balloting, insisting on an immediate decision from the remainder of the board. Although Commissioners Van Dusen and Scaglione expressed willingness to revisit the issue, each declined to pass the motion. Mr. Devine knew full well that such a proposal could not be accepted without some study of how it would be administered. Instituting absentee balloting at a moments notice, without any consideration of the potential difficulties and complications of the process in a district with no employees would have been insanity. This motion, like all motions, should be carefully considered prior to any decision, positive or negative.

To categorize this proposal by Mr. Devine as disingenuous is a gross understatement. Mr. Devine has been a commissioner for three years. He chose the last meeting of that three-year term to present this issue for the first time. Despite his claims that he has raised the issue in the past, I have reviewed the district minutes for his entire three-year term and not once is the issue of absentee balloting even mentioned in the minutes. (It is also important to note that, as secretary, Mr. Devine took the minutes of each meeting he attended.) If this issue was so important to Mr. Devine, where has he been for the last three years? Why does he portray himself as a champion of voters' rights only two weeks after his election team did their level best to prevent voters from writing in my name on the ballot? The answer is clear. It is a convenient issue designed to taint Commissioners Van Dusen and Scaglione. While Mr. Devine claims that something stinks in the garbage district, rest assured that the stench left at the conclusion of the year.

Doug Augenthaler


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