Dear Editor,

During the Franklin County Commission Meeting on Nov. 21, 2018 citizens voicing their displeasure of how the county is doing business were berated and treated badly by County Counselor/Administrator Derek Brown who didn’t like the comments concerning how the candidate’s information was and was not posted to the county’s website to be considered for the two open vacancies on the Franklin County Planning Board and one vacancy on the Board of Zoning Appeals. My question would be if the county has nothing hide why did Mr. Brown get so upset and belittle the concerned citizens who voice their opinion to the commissioners.

Go to, go to the Board of County Commissioners, and then go to videos which will take you to where the videos of all county meetings are placed for public view and watch the entire meeting for November 21, 2018.

Minutes before the meeting County Counselor Derek Brown asked if he could have a word with me. Brown stated to me that he wanted me to know that he forwarded my letter to the commissioners before this upcoming meeting so they could also consider me for the open positions. The three other candidates for these positions were posted to the county website earlier, but mine wasn’t because Brown stated it would have been not fair to me since I wasn’t one of the candidates who he and his staff was recommending that the commissioners to select for the three open positions.

My point is this: If any of the candidates letter’s were posted on the counties websites then all candidates letter’s should have been posted.

Seconds before I was to be called up to speak under the public comments section of this meeting, I was told by Gene Hirt that commissioner Rick Howard just told him on a phone call that we will probably not select Joe Ferguson because of his association with Shari Giest. Giest had provided me with information that I used to file a complaint with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office about two years ago against the Franklin County Board of Commissioners because as concerned citizens of Franklin County we had believed that these Commissioner’s has violated their own charter resolutions that they approved to be governed by.

During the meeting I had referenced the phone call with Gene Hirt, however I did not mention which commissioner’s name it was who made that statement, just that it was one of the commissioners. After the meeting was over commissioner Rick Howard caught Gene Hirt outside the building and gave him the heck for telling me that information. Gene finally asked commissioner Howard if he was done and then called him out for calling him the day before on a fishing expedition trying to see if any resistance was going to be coming to the commissioners meeting the next day. Evidently commissioner Rick Howard must have expected that myself and others might be upset because my letter wasn’t up on the counties website and reported back to County Counselor Derek Brown who then as I stated above asked to speak me just minutes before the meeting in order to try and stop me from speaking. However County Counselor Derek Brown was frustrated and upset at me because I told him that I was still going to address the Board of Commissioner s about the process of the way the county conducts business.

County Counselor Derek Browns comments during the meeting demonstrated that he not a true professional when he wants to stop any concerned citizen from having the right to speak their peace because they don’t agree with him. The First Amendment to the US Constitution guarantees the rights for all Americans to voice their concern to our elected leaders.

A person that was chosen for one of these vacant position and sworn in later in this meeting called Gene Hirt on Wednesday night and told him that they were sorry they thought that Gene was just trying to cause trouble until they went home after the meeting looked at the information for the candidates on the counties website and realized the Joe Ferguson’s information was intentionally left off.

I am not writing this letter because I am not happy I didn’t get one of the open positions, I knew from the start of applying for it that the commissioners probably would not select me because I have spoken out against actions in the past when I believe they are not doing good for this county and the people that elected them to office.

People need to be concerned about what is happening and the decisions that are being made, because this is why our taxes continue to go up in some cases higher then Johnson and Shawnee Counties. With the city and county moving onward with Proximity Park project our taxes will continue to go up. As of this date are there any companies who have declared they are going to come to Franklin County in order to bring their business here? There is a $5 million road being constructed for this project so I pray businesses will be coming or nobody will be able to afford taxes in this county in years to come. Citizens of Franklin County need to start attending the county and city commissioner meeting’s and know, what and how your tax dollars are being spent and hold the elected leaders accountable for their actions.

— Joe Ferguson, Ottawa