Letter to the Editor: ‘Destroying our unity and quality of life’

To the editor,

I am responding to the article entitled “Bippus receives high marks from city commission, sans Mayor Lowry.” 

First let me state that I do not live in the city and therefore have not regularly attended city commission meetings. I have attended a few of them because as clergy, I have offered the opening prayer. I have also served on a board with Mayor Lowry and I am an acquaintance of Mr. Bippus. I have found both of them to be professional and both have a passion and concern for the city of Three Rivers.  

My purpose for writing isn’t because I am concerned about the scores that Mr. Bippus received or that the Mayor has a different view of his performance than the rest of the commission. I have supervised a number of people over my career and it is not unusual for differing opinions of a person’s performance because of variances in work relationships and interactions. Same employee, seen through different lenses; that’s why reviews are done collectively. 

My concern about this article is the tone it sets for shaping public opinion of our leaders that has nothing to do with the outcome of a performance review. In particular the following:  

“You have handled yourself well with several unprofessional outbursts by our confrontational mayor,” Griffith wrote. “It is unclear if he is experiencing age related health issues or is bending to pressure from one or more of your more vocal critics.  Continue to weather these with professionalism and doing your best. The rest of the commission is obviously fully aware the criticisms are unfounded and your performance, again, top-notch.” 

Mr. Griffith makes a speculation that the Mayor is “experiencing age related health issues” or “bending from pressure by Mr. Bippus’ critics.” Speculation such as this is setting our community up for similar divisive practices that our national leaders participate in which is destroying our unity and quality of life as a nation. It fosters gossip and rumor that gets out of hand quickly.  It will be difficult to build community in Three Rivers if this is the pattern we can expect from our city leaders and we all will lose. 

Stating that, “the rest of the commission is obviously fully aware that the criticisms are unfounded,” puts words in their mouths that are not owned by them. Let the commissioners speak for themselves if they have concerns. Let Mr. Bippus speak for himself if he feels his performance evaluation is unfounded by any member of the commission. Let the Mayor speak for himself in regard to his “outbursts.” Then the public will know what our city leaders are thinking and what their priorities are. 

If he hasn’t yet, Mr. Griffith should speak directly to the Mayor about the concerns he has about him.  This was a performance review, not an issue that requires a public forum that will inevitably lead to disinformation. I would caution citizens reading this article to guard against forming sweeping or erroneous opinions of any of the persons named in this piece that may result in competing loyalties that will ultimately divide our city leaders and our community.

Rev. Brenda Deily
First Presbyterian Church of Three Rivers

Any views or opinions expressed in this letter are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Watershed Voice staff or its board of directors.