Acts of brazen disregard for ordinary citizens are becoming all too commonplace in government these days. To some extent, we expect this from Washington, D.C., where contempt for the challenges many Americans face now knows no bounds. However, it is increasingly troubling to see that attitude permeate local government.
I was struck by Broad + Liberty’s recent coverage of a secret effort by left-leaning private organizations to influence election administration in Democratic-leaning counties by working exclusively with Democrat officials in the run up to the 2020 presidential contest. In that story, Delaware County Council’s—in particular Councilwoman Christine Reuther’s—commitment to ideology over functionality featured prominently. Her response to a simple critique from her own attorney about the partisan leanings of those involved private organizations was telling: “I will deal with the blowback”.
This is the language of contempt and it compels me to write about another instance of similar disregard for so many Delaware County residents.
Delaware County residents may dial into a conference line to hear how county council and county administrators make decisions and spend precious taxpayer resources. County employees, in particular department heads, also frequently participate when employment issues related to their departments are discussed.
During one of these public meetings last year, Councilwoman Christine Reuther made a statement along the lines of: don’t send me any more middle-aged white guys from (Archbishop) Bonner (High School).
Councilwoman Reuther’s comment was undoubtedly disgraceful. Yet, the question I have wanted to pose to Ms. Reuther for some time is this: do you not want any more applicants who fit your description because you are against older workers, white workers, males, or Catholics? Or is it the unique combination of those four attributes that make such individuals uniquely unqualified to be considered for county employment?
Councilwoman Reuther is a problem. The fact that four other members of county council, including Councilman Madden, who is currently seeking re-election, know she said this and have not publicly condemned her comments is a bigger problem. I would argue that condemnation is not enough. Such bigotry should compel her resignation. Failure to hold Ms. Reuther to account can only mean they agree with her. The current members of county council ran for office promising a new inclusive government but failed to mention that in their vision “middle aged white males from Bonner” need not apply.
The current members of county council ran for office promising a new inclusive government but failed to mention that in their vision “middle aged white males from Bonner” need not apply.
Councilwoman Reuther, you are a very sophisticated and intelligent woman with degrees from Harvard and Berkeley. You knew exactly what you were saying. Shame on you.
Add this to the growing list of concerning practices that Councilwoman Reuther and her county council have partaken in, and perhaps most egregiously, it happened in broad daylight, for the public to see. They don’t fear backlash, because they think we won’t notice or care.
Wally Nunn is the former Chairman of Delaware County Council and Delaware County Jail Oversight Board Member.