Right And Proper

How do we treat each other?  When is it OK to bring up ideas in an elected body?  What venue should be more finite in its representation of electors than the next? And who decides what is appropriate, if not a simple majority?

The question of appropriateness arose early in the evening and continued as a theme by those who had opposition to the Freedom To Work resolution I had presented.  Whether we should be discussing such things that have principles attached as a foundation appears to be something the board has rarely faced in years past.  I have apparently challenged that status, and have drawn fire from those who feel the cheese has been moved on them.

One person who was there remarked in an email today:

Dear County Commissioners,

I attended my first council meeting last night and was horrified at Mr. Gillman’s behavior/conduct. Mr. Gillman’s response to Mr. Richardson’s remarks was extremely disrespectful. His posturing was that of a bully and has no place on the GT board of county commissioners. In my opinion Mr. Gillman’s conduct was disorderly.

Mr. Gillman said that voters needed him to bring their message to the state. On the contrary, voters have their own voice. They have access to their elected officials through email, phone, fax, etc. They do not need Mr. Gillman attempting to take away one of their core democratic rights. It became obvious to me that the issue of unions vs. “right to work” was Mr. Gillman’s agenda.

County commissioners were not elected to make decisions on Employer/Employee relationships (unions vs. “right to work”). I applaud those of you who understood this and took the appropriate action. This is an issue that will be decided at the state level (if at all) and has no relevance or germane at the county level. The 4-3 vote that decided the county board meeting was an appropriate venue to discuss this issue should be repealed on the basis that this issue is NOT relevant and does NOT have a significant connection to our county government.

Respectfully, [name removed]

Aside from the question of appropriateness, she of course had to buffer her argument with an (in my view) overstated argument that I was rude to a fellow commissioner.  THAT exchange resulting from a disrespectful remark thrown by the commissioner at me personally versus at the issue at hand.

I can handle myself just fine. And so could that particular commissioner. Its not as if he hasn’t been rude or seen rudeness before. Fair play right?

I replied:

[name removed], Thank you for your email.

I am sorry that you didn’t enjoy your first county commission meeting.  Reciprocal exchanges and debate often happen, and certainly the heated issue at hand brought out more than what is normally the fare of the public health and safety committee venue.

I will respectfully disagree with your assessment that this type of exchange has no place in the county business.  Policy is why people are elected.  If it was only the mechanics of operating county government, then we have more than competent administration personnel and a well qualified workforce.

This issue itself excites many to action.  Is it my agenda?  It was certainly placed on the agenda by me, and has support (as shown) by the community at large, and by members on the board even in the face of some who disagree with it. I suppose those who oppose such reform of labor law have their own agenda, so those words meet an equal and opposite reality.

That alone does not make it an issue that should not be discussed in the commission chambers.  And we HAVE discussed issues of a political nature in the past regarding resolutions and what some commissioners might stand for.  Other issues should be expected to arise from time to time.

If I decide to run for another term, I will likely put my ideas forward as I did in the last election to overcome a primary challenger, then again the opposite party member in November.  If the voters disagree with my opinions they will not choose to support my candidacy, and I will have more time on my hands.

No doubt you have an idea of what is right and appropriate as well.  In fact I would encourage you to file and run.  A few signatures of qualified voters to get on the ballot or $100.

There is little more that is as rewarding than going door to door, and learning about the county, and what folks are doing or think about government.  I must say, it became more fun than work.  Door knocking is very revealing.  Some neighborhoods quite different than others.

We have some great people in this county, great workers, both union and not.  And we have some great elected officials as well.  Including commissioner Richardson.

I simply disagreed with his agenda and ideas , as he does my own.

Enjoy the Cherry Festival

Your servant,
Jason Gillman

Feeling no need to get testy.  She has a right to her opinion, and I had my own. Fair is fair, indeed.

Apparently being treated with deserved respect is not enough.  I am not certain what answer one would expect in such circumstances, but I thought my response was sufficient to put the matter to rest, at least at a “we will disagree” state.  She replied:

Mr. Gillman,
This is in response to your email.  Be careful not to confuse a few vocal people with “support by the community at large.”  Loud voices do not necessarily equate to a majority.

The county’s policies should have no bearing on  Employee/Employer relationships.

Remember, those with opposing points of view to you/labor laws were not the ones who brought this issue to the council. They seemed to know it was not a proper venue.

Again, issues like right to work vs. unions are not relevant or germane to county government, regardless of which side the audience supports.  It is the responsibility of county commissioners to incorporate  relevant and germane issues into the agenda that is to be presented to the community.

[Name Removed]

OK, I surrender?


Actually I find it interesting that the very same folks who cry about how conservatives, or Republicans don’t like “democracy” based on the forced unionization they consider to be such, is that they cannot themselves handle the voting outcome by the board with a majority.  What is good for thee and not for me, often exhibited by those who consider themselves above consequence and results is too prevalent IMO.

Not surprisingly, the same consideration of my own defense being rude by this writer is ignored because her side could not be wrong no matter the vote, thus no vote applies to her.

Similarly, the immature reactions to the simple statistics that I was mentioning belies the entire behavioral mindset of those who cannot accept simple discourse, or the resultant decision making based on logical and conclusive analysis.  A persistent heckling throughout the session, added to eye rolling and general disrespect for the venue itself  continued. And it wasn’t from those who arrived in support of the resolution.

And I had seen it before.

What is good for thee and not for me.

That man, who attacked my son for merely videotaping the union event in Lansing, a union service organizer, and all around thug would be first to cry foul if someone would so much as look at him crosseyed.  The level of intimidation perceived by such personalities as a right becomes hostile and manifest itself in many ways.

Some of those ways I had seen by some who were present in the meeting.

I do maintain that all have a right to be heard. Period.

I also maintain that the rules some insist on using as a hammer in arguments ought to at least be observed to a modest degree.

To those who did, thank you.

All of you

8 comments for “Right And Proper

  1. Ron Estrada
    July 7, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    Typical liberal. When they can’t win an argument they resort to profanity and violence. I hope this guy’s family sees what kind of behavior he displays in public.

  2. Henry Frick
    July 7, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    “The county’s policies should have no bearing on Employee/Employer relationships.”

    Does this mean that Ms Union will be supporting Paul Nepote’s efforts to repeal City Commission policies that interfere with employee/employer relationships?

    In fact, by this reasoning one may suggest that we remove ALL government ties to the Employee/Employer relationship.

    Ms. Union has one foot in the 912 door and doesn’t even know it.

  3. Gary Glenn
    July 7, 2011 at 11:59 pm

    Commissioner Gillman, I was a county commissioner once and faced the same kind of ridiculous arguments. I was told that the county commission was not the place to discuss the issue of abortion, and yet my colleagues one day voted to add coverage of abortion to county employees’ health insurance policy, and on one occasion, county taxpayers paid to provide an abortion to a county jail inmate. I was told the county commission was not the place to discuss so-called homosexual “marriage,” and yet it was the county that issued marriage licenses and would be directly affected by any change in marriage policy.

    Similarly, you’ve been told that Right to Work is none of the county commission’s business, and yet…

    I don’t know if your county employees are unionized, but if they’re not, they could be in the future. The proposed Right to Work bill would determine whether Grand Traverse County employees could be forced to join or pay dues to a union. It would prohibit the county from performing the function of collecting union dues by withholding them from employee paychecks and turning the money over to union officials. It would allow union officials to bargain for and represent only those county employees who voluntarily joined and paid dues, and state that only those who did would be covered by the provisions of the union’s contract.

    In addition to that direct effect on county government, one of your jobs as county commissioner is to create a regulatory climate which encourages new job growth and economic development in the county. If, in your judgment, Right to Work would stimulate job creation in Grand Traverse County, you would be derelict in your duty to constituents NOT to take action on the issue.

    In addition to all that, you correctly told the lady that it’s the individual commissioners who get to decide what is and is not appropriate county business. If she thinks state legislation that directly affects county government and county employees isn’t a legitimate county issue — a ridiculous proposition, for sure — she’s free to offer herself to voters, make her case, and see if she gets elected. Just as you did. And since you did get elected, you’re one of those nine who get a vote as to what is and is not appropriately before the board. Her only vote is whether to replace you next time with someone who agrees with her and not with you.

    In the meantime, thanks for your leadership and the common sense to know that Right to Work has as much impact on and thus relevance to county government as it does to any other employer in the state.

  4. Dave
    July 8, 2011 at 1:23 am

    When Democrat liberals have nothing meaningful to say they always resort to getting off the subject matter of a discussion and start attacking their opposition personally. Its part of their play book and was seen at the GTC Commission meeting Wednesday evening.

  5. Jason Gillman Jr.
    July 8, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Well, I’ve pretty much written off being peaceful in response to future acts of aggression.

    If some clown like the douchebag above wants to throw down, it is not going to end until… well, when it ends. That’s all I will say.

    “You’re stooping to their level” you might say. Well, I consider it more along the lines of the “Impasse” scene in “The Substitute 2”.

  6. Beth Webster
    July 9, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    I was at the commission meeting when Commissioner Gillman introduced his Freedom to Work Resolution and was impressed with his restraint in the face of personal attacks made upon him by some who spoke as well as Commissioner Richardson. I felt he handled the situation with grace and civility while at the same time standing up for the freedom represented in his Resolution. If it is any consolation to you, Com. Gillman, you must be doing something right to bring out the ‘personal attack’ tactic of the opposition. Keep up the good work!

  7. July 10, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    Just a question; wasn’t the vote actually 5 – 2 in favor of the resolution? It seems to me that Miss Whatshername has a key fact wrong . . . or I do.

    • JGillman
      July 10, 2011 at 5:38 pm

      The 4-3 vote referenced was to whether the issue should be discussed by the board in the first place. Essentially asking whether the vote should be allowed to take place.

      One of the commissioners essentially wanted to shut up the argument of if we should consider such things, so moved for that to be the first argument.

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