Talk in the 10: Drama vs. accountability

    Fremont County is large, diverse, and filled with opinions, or “talk in the 10.” “Talk in the 10” is an opportunity for you, our readers, to articulate and share your thoughts about what is happening in the community with the community. Letters may have been edited for clarity and length, but generally have been published exactly as received. The views expressed in the following are solely those of the author. Send your letters to our editors by emailing opi[email protected]

    Editor’s Note: This opinion submission was originally published including a statement that asserted the former Chamber Director’s letter did not contain “mention of the financial issues she now raises.” Subsequently, County 10 received a copy of the Director’s letter which does raise general concerns about financial mismanagement. The paragraph containing this statement has been removed from the letter below.

    Drama vs. accountability. Riverton’s 3/19 council meeting was a showdown between the two. Sadly, I think drama won.


    If you missed it, you missed learning of the Chamber of Commerce’s mistakes for which they have been cooperative in identifying and rectifying. You also missed excessive vitriol and chest pounding. And you missed a painful display of conduct from the former chamber director. 

    Some folks provided opinions or observations that were actually helpful. I thank them for that, even if the delivery was hard to hear.

    But there were various comments that were simply wrong or untruthful. Accusations that crimes had been committed. It was very personal. I felt like I was watching schoolyard bullies pile up on easy victims. There was no search for truth or problem solving in their words. This was not about accountability, it was just drama, and lots of it.

    ABOUT TAXPAYER PERMITTED TAD FUNDING: The Chamber’s actions were in compliance with TAD funding guidelines, but not with the relatively new Memorandum of Understanding with the city. But an MOU is just that, an understanding. It is not a law. It does not carry legal consequences for mistakes. There was no malicious fraud, the necessary element to embezzlement, accused by some commentators. 


    I hope that other FreCo communities are paying attention. They have been receiving TAD (tourism asset development) funds for over 20 years with lax guidance on usage, and much trust on execution. I once suggested WRVC create a uniform process for the communities. The pushback from the board was quite vocal. They insisted guidelines were sufficient and each community should determine how they would distribute those funds. I appreciated the community empowerment they suggested and let the idea go. 

    The annual reporting mechanism WRVC requires has also been fairly simple. In my time on the board, the board trusted what was presented and asked for no more documentation or verification. The current WRVC board similarly accepted the January report. 

    But times change. The WRVC has many new board members and a new director, and new procedures are being put in place. It is in following these new processes that the Chamber messed up.


    ABOUT FORCING AN EMPLOYER TO KEEP AN EMPLOYEE: Yeh, on that the city has no business. There are ample non-public avenues for a terminated employee to appeal. The audience that demanded the former director get her job back, are free to hire her themselves. She can complain about her employer, but they are unable to comment without risking her filing a lawsuit. That said, she does not get a free-pass on defamation. 

    To the former director, I offer sympathy and best wishes for a brighter future. For the local business community and its chamber, I will continue to offer my support as a consumer and volunteer. And to the city council, I offer my gratitude for your grace when faced with such difficult challenges.

    Cathy Cline


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