Letter to the editor: the truth is out there


bcc1_27Letter to the Editor: The Truth is Out There  by Charles James


You know that looking behind the scenes of political decisions for truth often require respecting confidentiality of news sources. It also requires making judgment calls on whether or not those sources are credible and whether or not the information is actually truthful, important and worth pursuing.

Two reliable sources gave conflicting views of the hiring process and decision-making involved in recently selecting the new Bishop City Administrator. One insisted a past incident involving an outside candidate (widely-reported on the Internet) played no role whatsoever in the final decision and that the candidate was upfront and candid from the very beginning of the process. Another source said that, “yes, the incident did play a role, but it was not the deciding factor” and that it was taken into account as were many other factors.

The past played a role in another way as well: The rush to replace the city’s 30-year City Administrator Rick Pucci in September of 2010 ended poorly when his replacement, Jim Southworth, was abruptly placed on administrative leave and then quickly resigned only ten-months into his 5-year agreement. Three of the five current council members dealt with the mess and did not want a recurrence. Council members are very aware of the saying, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” They were determined to do their homework however long it took, hence the long process.

There are five individuals on the city council. They are not all alike nor do they respond to pressure and influence the same way despite the “Stepford Wives” conspiracy theory advanced by some online that this was just another case of “some old local business men” pressuring them and the “city council …just looking out for themselves.”

While council members may well share many of the same views– even vote the same way– on many matters before them, it is just as likely he or she may hold divergent views. And even then, even for different reasons, the result might be voting the same as other council members. This is how a representative democracy works and how decisions are supposed to be made. It is often a hard and messy process.

The unanimous vote on the new City Administrator was a consensus on “who to hire”; not proof that all five council members voted “yes” for the same reasons.

While considered healthy to be vigilant, skeptical or even cynical in a democracy, spreading false rumors, making unfounded personal attacks, and “Just plain making stuff up,” isn’t.

Remember: The truth is out there.

Often from a “reliable source.

Charles James


11 Responses to Letter to the editor: the truth is out there

  1. Bishop Pioneer August 4, 2014 at 12:59 pm #

    To Charles James,

    I have a question in response to your claim about the council being, “determined to do their homework however long it took, hence the long process.” If that is true and they never fully settled on either candidate, why is word out there that the Colonel was sent an employment contract by the council? People say he signed and returned it having been told he was the one the council wanted. Why send a contract to someone to sign if you are still doing your homework on him as a candidate for the job?

    If the Colonel was given a contract to sign then the notion of good ol boys getting involved to get a local boy hired takes on some serious credibility. The Colonel’s resume is on the internet. Look it up and then decide for yourself if Tatum is as well qualified. Perhaps the good ol boys club felt safer reading resumes only as far as what the candidate’s current address is.

    I’d like to know what your “reliable sources” have to say about the contract question. Or do you just put positive spins on actions by the council?

    • Benett Kessler August 4, 2014 at 2:26 pm #

      Stay tuned for more. So far, the rumor about a contract sent out is just that – a rumor. Cool it. Benett Kessler

      • Bishop Pioneer August 4, 2014 at 3:37 pm #


        Does your “stay tuned for more” mean you are personally going to check out the rumor about the contract?

        • Benett Kessler August 4, 2014 at 4:21 pm #

          So far, officials are not willing to talk about confidential matters. In fact, they may be bound by law not to. But, we are still checking since usually reliable sources say there is something to the report that the Council may have offered a contract to the Colonel. BK

  2. C. Wyler August 3, 2014 at 5:14 pm #

    The bishop city council can’t sit down and decide what pencils to use during their meetings. They mis-manage money; try to contract LEO services with the county, yet during the same meeting vote on which lap top, tablet, computers each individual member shall receive. Weird….. One member can’t comprehend how ambulance services work, another will tell u one thing while doing the complete opposite while another hands out business cards reiterating that he/she is the “”Mayor of Bishop.” Good luck with this group getting the City Admin position right!!!

  3. So Sad August 3, 2014 at 3:12 pm #

    Some people might like to read the “military publication online”. Could you please provide a link?

    You did say “an internet story”. Was “widely publicized” correct as stated previously?

    It might be interesting to see what the Colonel has to comment. Was he contacted by a reporter?

  4. Confused August 3, 2014 at 11:22 am #

    For those of us who don’t have a clue who you are talking about in this letter–who was the “outside candidate”? I believe in another article or comment, that person was referred to as “the Colonel”. A lot of us are in the dark about what all this is about.

    • Benett Kessler August 3, 2014 at 11:45 am #

      The out of area candidate for City Administrator was retired Colonel David Buckingham. The rest of it has to do with opinions and perhaps actual information about Buckingham and how the City Council considered him. He obviously did not get the job. Part of the issue was an internet story in a military publication online that said Buckingham was relieved of his command in Italy when he lost his temper and used profanity with an MP. The City Council was apparently fully apprised of that report by the Colonel. BK

  5. Tinner August 2, 2014 at 12:08 pm #

    The “good ole boy” network seems to thrive in Inyo County (yes, I know its the CITY discussed in this article). For the first time ever in my life I felt my race MAY have been a factor for not being hired for a position in Inyo. I don’t know for sure but I never left an interview feeling like that.


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