I find it ironic that commissioner Jarvis McLamb of all people was offended that some people were out there calling members of the county managerial staff names and using critical statements about the staff. Having met with Mr. McLamb on many occasions on a professional basis, I felt it was a bit absurd for him to speak up in this manner. Had anyone else on the Board of Commissioners decided to speak up on the matter initially, Kandid Katie would have addressed another topic this week.
Yet, I have to speak up on this matter since I feel this county leader has suddenly developed a case of amnesia. How dare he point fingers at citizens for speaking their minds when he, himself, has pushed a few buttons when he directed a misogynistic comment toward a prominent member of that very staff?
When I was covering a county board meeting a few years ago, I clearly remember him saying “Maybe men don’t like to work under a woman.” He was directing his comment at a member of the county managerial staff during a discussion on the leadership of the animal shelter. In fact, I even remember him pulling me aside at a meeting later to correct me saying, “Most men don’t like to work under a woman.”
Now, as a reporter, I couldn’t comment on this topic at the time. It would have been inappropriate for me to take a stand. Since I am no longer a reporter covering county board meetings, I felt that people needed to be reminded of his past comment. I also need to remind Mr. McLamb that every citizen reserves the right of the First Amendment to speak their mind. Whether it is name calling of county leaders by private citizens or chauvinistic comments by a certain commissioner, we all have the right to speak our mind.
Personally, I wish no ill will towards Mr. McLamb, but we must not be willing to throw stones if we live in glass houses. Also, it is the responsibility of citizens to speak out and question the work of elected leaders in hopes that the individuals represent the wishes of the people. Mr. McLamb should not forget that he works for the people and not the other way around.
Now I agree that name calling of county staff members shouldn’t be a means for resolving problems, but shouldn’t misogyny have been left out of his comments too? Where was the outcry of emotion when commissioner McLamb spoke his mind before? Well, it didn’t come from the commissioners of the time. I didn’t see any of them jump up and defend that staff member or condemn his comment. Nor did I see Mr. McLamb publicly apologize for his sexist remark. Yet when the public speaks up, he uses his platform to denounce that name calling. Maybe Mr. McLamb needs to deal with his own amnesia before he finds his next soap box.
Katie Holland can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.