Newspaper story was one-sided, sensationalism

Editor,

I am the City of Langley finance director and city clerk. I have held that position for over 24 years and have worked in city government for over 27 years. I have been with Langley through good financial times and bad and I know how quickly a loss of revenue or over spending can damage the city’s finances. For that reason, I am very frugal with city funds and I personally look at every expenditure.

When I received our last billing from the city attorney, I took issue with a charge and took that to Mayor Callison. The city’s attorney is not a city employee, but an hourly contracted attorney. He is a highly regarded expert in municipal law and a great and valuable asset to the city. His time is expensive and we use him whenever his services are needed, but do not use him for simple matters that can be resolved with other resources available to us.

If I had a legal dispute with one of my neighbors and my other neighbor wanted to know what was going on and called my attorney to get information and I was billed for that time, I would be understandably angry. For The Record to call the city’s attorney and spend Langley taxpayers’ money, unauthorized, is the same thing. That is why I took the issue to Mayor Callison for action. To then write a one-sided story in the paper was pure sensationalism to sell more papers and keep controversies stirring in the community. The Record has free access to the city and many, many other resources of information without incurring expense for the city.

To suggest that this is a retaliatory action on the mayor’s part is just more sensationalism. I have taken phone calls at home from your reporter asking questions and looking for budget numbers off the top of my head when I have no city documents in front of me and am then quoted in the paper. To ask that you contact the mayor on his city line instead of calling him at all hours on his personal cell phone is reasonable.

It is a wonder that we can still get people to run for election and serve. People who participate in city government quickly find out that every issue considered is an opportunity for them to be publicly vilified in the paper.

DEBBIE L. MAHLER

Langley city clerk

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