Respect is something that anyone holding public office has to be earn. It is not a God-given right to the office holder to have the public's respect.
When I left Millinocket at the age of eighteen, I left thinking that I would respect the office, but the person holding any position that serves the public would have to earn my respect, and that is still how I think.
After seeing the show at last Thursday town meeting, I left disgusted. What was said regarding the Town Manager's contract should never have been said in public, but the two councilors involved didnít lose my respect as they never had it to begin with.
Being elected to office does not give anyone the right to be rude, and to have the arrogance to think that they can say or do anything without having any basic human decency, or even to care that they are crossing a line that most people would not have done.
They were elected by some of the people, not all, and not even a majority. Being elected to public office does not mean that the people who voted for them knew what was going on when they cast their vote.
Too many of our public officials get elected by telling the people what they want to hear and making false promises. Lies are better than the truth and making promises that cost money. It never is their own money but to the taxpayers', and they use it to make look like they are getting things done. Spend the money and talk a good talk, and some of the voters will believe it. All they need is enough to get them elected.
Millinocket finally has a town manager that is working for the people of this town. He gave the town a surplus after years of overspending, and he did so during very tough economic times. He knows that we need other business in town besides the mill, and has worked hard for that to happen.
Bantam Boilers would have been an excellent job opportunity for Millinocket but, like too many things around here, that fell through for a lot of reasons. Many people were disappointed but none more than our town manager, who had devoted a lot of time and effort to have the boilers manufactured in Millinocket.
Some of the council members wanted to table extending the town manager's contract. They wanted input from the public, they said, but these are the same councilors who have never cared what the public thinks.
From talking to the citizens of Millinocket, they all think this town manager is doing a great job. They like him as a person, and they like his honesty, and his caring about the people in this town.
They respect him as a person. Yes, Gene Conolgue has the respect of the citizens of Millinocket. He has earned it by being honest, telling us what we need to hear and knowing that tax money the town raises is not his, but that it belongs to the people.
Some of our councilors would do well to understand that last part.
I do not know the owners of the mill. I am not with the so-called upper class, which Millinocket never had before.
How much money someone has does not interest me. I like honesty, and basic human decency so tell me no lies, and I'm not interested in false promises.
The people who I associate with are honest, hard-working citizens who care about their town. They are not wealthy, but they are good people who know the difference in the good, the bad and the ugly.
Unfortunately, too many of our citizens can't tell the difference between good from the bad, and they donít want to know. We all are paying a terrible price for it.
Councilors Polstein and McLean should talk to the people who live in this town and put their interests before their own. Those of us who know the history of Millinocket, know that having a town manager who cares for the people and the future of this town is not something that we have seen in a very long time. Those who care about Millinocketís future thank Gene Conlogue for being here in our time of need.
We will be having another election coming up in November and I hope that people will be more informed this time around, and that they will put honesty and decency before thinking how someone can help them, and only them.
Follow the money trail and, until you learn to do that, Millinocket will continue to be a laughingstock of the state; and the future of our town will be in jeopardy.