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Armstrong Council should put community First

By Staff | Apr 25, 2017

As someone who grew up in Armstrong and specifically decided to move back to Armstrong when I retired, I have been absolutely appalled by the divisive and mean spirited attitudes that have been the hallmark of Armstrong’s city government for nearly the past six months. We have had council members who spend more time trying to attack the mayor and our police chief than they do tending to city business.

The obvious infighting began when a series of irregularities were discovered in City Hall. Numerous reports were not submitted as required which resulted in fines or in the failure to receive expected revenues and bills were not paid. In addition, no city utility bills were sent out for three months, resulting in a significant loss of revenue to the City.

Although these irregularities appear to be the main reason behind the paralysis of Armstrong’s city government, my personal belief is that the problem is bigger than missing reports and/or accounting problems.

It is obvious to me, that with the level of animosity that has been displayed, Armstrong will never have an effectively functioning city government as long as the current elected officials are in office. We have already seen negative impacts from this feuding. We have had Council members resign in disgust and have seen the community divided like never before. We have had people threaten to leave the community because of this dysfunction.

I would like to suggest that all our elected officials take a deep look at their own reasons for serving. From what I have seen so far, I don’t see any situation where our current officials can work together. This is a particularly sad state of affairs because there are elected officials who sought their office in order to better this community. Unfortunately, they cannot function in this atmosphere of suspicion and distrust. As a result, I would suggest that the four remaining council members and the mayor submit their resignations, ask the State of Iowa to appoint an administrator until a new election can be held, and that they agree not to run in a new election.

The citizens of Armstrong deserve better than what our elected officials have delivered. If they are concerned about what is best for the community and not their personal agendas they will resign and hopefully a new city government can help our community move past this embarrassing episode.

Dave Grussing