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A little early for exaggeration

January 26, 2015
Shepherdstown Chronicle

Exaggeration-defined by Webster's as :The act of exaggerating; the act of doing or representing in an excessive manner; a going beyond the bounds of truth reason, or justice; a hyperbolical representation; hyperbole; overstatement."

Not something a newly elected official wants to start off with. But that is just what Eric Bell did last week during the Jefferson County Commission meeting. I refer to Bell's statement that he had received "over 10,000 emails, calls and texts" urging him not to re-hire former county administrator Leslie Smith as interim administrator.

I call Mr. Bell to the carpet on this one because, frankly, I don't believe he received anywhere near that number of contacts from the public. I say this because I do not believe, first of all, that over 10,000 people in the county know that we have a county administrator, or if they do, that Ms. Keyser had resigned. I do not believe anywhere near that number of individuals would even have known that any commissioner was considering putting forth Ms. Smith's name for the interim position or the full time position.

Regardless of what the topic-as the question of who should be administrator is not at issue here-the statement made by Mr. Bell leads one to wonder what other blatant exaggerations to expect in the future.

I am not here to condemn Mr. Bell, but simply to point out that in an elected position, especially, one must be careful when making statements like this. Everything said is under scrutiny and open for comment, which is the way it should be. If decisions are being made-which one was in this instance-actual facts are what is necessary in the process, not inflated numbers to make an argument seem justified.

In this instance, it would have sufficed for Mr. Bell to say that he was not willing to support the motion either because of research he had completed and he was not comfortable appointing Ms. Smith, or simply say I don't know enough about her qualifications to vote in the affirmative. Even say I have had "some" constituents say they are against this and I am listening to them. But don't inflate to "over 10,000." It makes the argument weak at best. And it leads to doubt about future information and debate he may offer.

 
 
 

 

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