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Tossing in my two cents

My six regular readers might have noticed that there was nothing with my name attached to it on this page in the past week’s edition of the Peabody Gazette-Bulletin. It was not because I got all shy and decided to keep my mouth shut. No, I had an opinion about the success of our Halloween evening events — recognizing costume and decorated trunk winners and other affirmative participation. I was all about it and thought the column took care of a Halloween commentary.

When I wrote it, I was aware that my immediate superior in Marion was putting together a rather fiery and pointed column about Marion County’s EMS situation. However, I didn’t know until late on Tuesday night that he had so much to say. Shortly before the production crew sent the final copy off to be printed, David Colburn called to tell me there just wasn’t enough space available on the PGB opinion page for two editorials. When your immediate superior calls to tell you that and one editorial is his and one is yours, what do you say?

That is correct – you say, “Oh shoot, just take mine out.” Because, of course, one would hate to get fired for insubordination, right? So much for that Halloween commentary. However, his column certainly got folks fired up!

As it turns out, this week I have a few words of my own to add about our EMS situation. Colburn’s opinion column gave you the basic background and he provided some extra information that left people countywide unhappy with our county commissioners. I was not at the commission meetings Colburn attended so I am steering clear of sharing my opinion of them.

However, during the two weeks since Larry Larsen was fired as Peabody EMS director and assistant county coroner, I have heard reactions to his termination from people in several communities and I have to say support for Larsen is as widespread as one could imagine possible in this type of situation. Even people who will admit to irritation or anger with Larsen over a personal issue hope to see him reinstated because of his knowledge and ability in the medical field. In addition, the hostility and lack of respect aimed at the opposition is vast and unyielding. People are angered by the way this has been handled.

Marion County’s governing body determines a tremendous amount of policy about the individuals — department heads — who oversee personnel and create guidelines, budgets, and protocol for the departments on which we all rely. Those three people make a huge impact on every phase of how tax dollars are generated and spent within our county boundaries.

Ask yourself if you are happy with their decisions. If you choose to address Larry Larsen’s termination by adding your name to an online petition, that is one way to let the commissioners know how you feel.

Another way is to contact each one and tell them what you think. They work for you and you should be able to sit down with each of them and express your opinion.

Exercising your right to vote is another more lasting expression of your thoughts on their abilities and service. Be sure are registered to vote.

When the next election for Marion County Commissioners comes around, ask questions of the candidates and listen to their answers. Not happy with county roads? Not happy with economic development progress? Not happy with the skills or qualifications of county personnel? Go to the polls and make your choices known.

If you want change, that is how you will get it. There is a saying that goes, “We get the government we deserve.” That is exactly right. If we do not make the effort to be informed when we vote or hold our elected officials accountable once they are in office, we deserve what we get.

—SUSAN MARSHALL

Last modified Nov. 10, 2015

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