To the Editor:

I just wanted to take a moment to explain why those of us who are in public office serve. We do it to give back to a community that we hold close to us. We want what is best for our neighbors, our friends, our relatives, for strangers we don’t know personally, and for future generations. We do not serve for social advancement, money, fame and definitely not for our health.

Recently at Pokegama Township, those of us who were elected by the citizens and taxpayers of the township made a decision to fix a road that the residents of the road expressed concern about. Meetings were held, and citizens were informed of the board’s intentions for Island Resort Road. Concerns were raised about potholes, dangerous dips, bumps etc. The board listened, did a lot of research, spent a lot of everyone’s money on soil borings, an engineer, legal work, etc, and came up with a plan that is fair to the residents of Island Resort Road, and the rest of the taxpayers of the township.

I would like to pause and touch on the word fairness. As elected officials, we have a duty to treat everyone fairly and equally. We do not give any one person, group or road “special treatment.” We owe it to everyone in the township to do what is fiscally responsible for all of the taxpayers. In doing so, the board has remained responsible with the money that is levied and approved by the citizens at the annual meeting of the township. We must support approximately 2,700 people, and 61 miles of gravel roads. We have taken pride in ensuring that we adhere to the funds approved by the taxpayers, and do our best to maintain the roads, all the while being fair and responsible to everyone. Now, is it fair and responsible to all taxpayers to spend our entire road and bridge budget for the next 1.5-2 years on a single road?

Because of the decision that was made by the board, there has been harassment and threats made toward township employees and elected officials. The majority property owner on Island Resort Road (whom many residents rent from) has been present at all of the meetings where the board’s intentions to repair Island Resort Road were expressed. Questions were asked, they were addressed, and the board was thanked for our help with informing them of our decision and why we were going to do what we did. Why was this information not relayed to the residents?

Those of us who serve our community, with good intention for all, should not have to be subjected to harassment and threats. We are here for everyone’s best interests, not just a select few.

In closing, be kind to your local elected officials as they are there to serve you. After they have been mistreated and harassed enough to resign, who knows who you will have next, and if they genuinely have everyone’s best interests in mind.

Jason Zastera

Pokegama Township Road Supervisor

(1) comment

James Woischke

Mr. Zastera, The "plan" for IRR was developed long before you became the Road Supervisor. Regrettably, that plan for IRR has had disastrous consequences. There is proven data on road utilization and the most effective top surface. It wasn't utilized in the plan. The end result is residents suffering - not because of you, but that of your predecessors. We respect your courage to accept responsibility for another's recklessness. IRR must be resolved promptly- no more delays. Jim Woischke

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