To the editor:

At least five generations of my family have lived in Leavenworth County. My maternal grandfather was proudly sworn in as a United States citizen at the Leavenworth County Courthouse on Jan. 6, 1919. Our family members have graduated from Leavenworth, Immaculata and Lansing high schools. Although I no longer live in Leavenworth, I visit there usually about once a month.

I watched the video of the Leavenworth County Commission meeting July 10 with a particular interest in the presentation by the Give Me Five committee of the petition for a ballot issue to increase the number of the commissioners from three to five. I was appalled, saddened and embarrassed by the manner in which Commissioners Klemp and Smith interacted with the Give Me Five committee members present.

Both commissioners displayed a combination of arrogance, hostility, antagonism and defensiveness in their attitudes and behaviors. The committee gathered more than 3,000 signatures of registered electors on this petition.

The pettiness and rude behavior exhibited by these two commissioners was striking.  

Commissioner Klemp referred to one committee member who spoke in a calm, rational and non-accusatory fashion as a “guard dog.” This behavior is completely beyond the bounds of civility that citizens are entitled to when appearing before their elected officials.

Regardless of which side of the aisle you are on, the behavior of these two commissioners underlines the definite need to upgrade the quality and character of the county commissioners. No public servant, especially those elected to run the county, should ever treat citizens in this manner.  

Earlier in the meeting, Commissioner Klemp asked “Where do you handle disrespect?” He would do well to look in the mirror as he asks this question.

Editor’s note: Patrick Williams grew up in Leavenworth and graduated Immaculata High School in 1966.