Letters Lias' call is without merit

To the editor:

Plain Talk editor David Lias' call for the resignation of Alderman Frank Slagle ("Between the Lines," Plain Talk, Oct. 1) is without merit. The basis for Mr. Lias' position stems from Alderman Slagle's behavior during a special meeting of the City Council on Sept. 27, which was called to consider the "time-sensitive" issue of Clay County State's Attorney Tami Bern's application for a block grant related to juvenile crime. (Read: State's Attorney waited until the last minute.) Alderman Slagle refused to vote on the application and departed the meeting, which destroyed the quorum. Why? He is a parent of a juvenile!

The logic would be irrational, but for the recent judicial proceedings related to alleged conflict of interest of Alderman Slagle, due to his employment of The University of South Dakota. In protecting his own interests, Alderman Slagle asked Ms. Bern if his participation in the vote would be a conflict of interest. In true bureaucratic fashion, Ms. Bern referred Alderman Slagle to the city attorney. So, what probably started out as a clever way to prove a point turned into a "quorum-breaker" because the state's attorney and the other aldermen could not see the irony in Alderman Slagle's argument. It made just as much sense as the assertion by some that Alderman Slagle has a conflict of interest because of his employment by USD.

Alderman Slagle is an "alderman of the people." In keeping with that role this past summer, he alerted the citizens of Vermillion of the high school's plan to place two additional police inside the building. Without Alderman Slagle's vigilance and dedication to public service, this plan would have received rubber stamp approval by the council. Instead, informed citizens rallied behind Alderman Slagle, educated the rest of the city council, and eventually caused the plan to be defeated.

Alas, Alderman Slagle is not "unstable," as Mr. Lias labeled him. He shows up week after week to provide a voice for the voiceless. His courage to say "no" at the appropriate times is a breath of fresh air and an encouraging sign in this current political culture. I, for one, am proud to have Alderman Frank Slagle on the Vermillion City Council.

Ellen M. Limoges


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