Published January 4, 2024
Written by Adams
Photography by Simply American
Ottawa County residents need truth to navigate reality. Local activist media and others continue to spin truth to fit a narrative.
The truth must be told.
On December 12, 2023, the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners was set to appoint a new commissioner for the vacant District 6 seat. Due to local activist media and its ties to certain commissioners, the appointment process had not been without controversy.
Following the public commissioner interviews on December 8, 2023, the Holland Sentinel and other local media ran articles with a statement from Commissioner Jacob Bonnema.
Commissioner Jacob Bonnema’s Statement:
“I am deeply disappointed by Chairman Moss’ decision to deny commissioners the opportunity to submit questions and the public the chance to observe their elected commissioners asking interview questions to the applicants today. It is concerning that the public was only allowed to witness what Chairman Moss deemed appropriate for them to see. It is crucial that we strive for a higher standard of transparency and good governance. I am committed to advocating for increased transparency and good governance in the future.”
Were commissioners denied the opportunity to submit questions?
Addressing The Controversy
Before the December 12, 2023 vote to appoint a new commissioner, Commissioner Allison Miedema made a statement about the slander and lies surrounding Chair Joe Moss and the process.
Commissioner Miedema’s statement, addressed to Chair Moss:
“I’ve been thinking, pondering, and praying a lot over this past weekend, and wish Commissioner Bonnema was here at the moment because I thought he would be. But, I want to first tell you, that it’s not ok for the treatment and lies that continue to be said about you. Specifically, the lies that were told by Commissioner Bonnema to the media and to his county commissioner Facebook page about the interview process.
You sent out a copy of all proposed interview questions the day before the county commissioner interviews took place. Prior to the interviews, did Commissioner Bonnema ever reach out to you to provide any feedback on the interview process or the questions to be asked?”
Moss replied that he hadn’t.
Commissioner Miedema continued her statement:
“So last week Friday, prior to the interviews taking place, each of us commissioners had an opportunity to be present, and to weigh in our thoughts for the process along with the questions. Three county commissioners were not present, and that included Commissioner Bonnema. I only bring up his absence because of the lies and slander he has spread.
One commissioner shared a question about the interview process, Commissioner Curran, and Chairman Moss explained his reasonings why he would recommend not asking additional questions to certain interviewees. Commissioner Curran responded with, ‘That’s fair.’ With no other concerns or feedback, we voted on the process, as a board. And that process passed unanimously. If a board member had concern with the proposed interviews, proper process would be to attend the meeting, challenge the chair, which would then go to the vice chair and then a vote would take place.
Mr. Chair, I personally appreciate the work you prepared in having a fair and consistent interview process for all five candidates. Every candidate was treated the same—with respect, the same set of questions, and properly thanked.
I will always aim to show respect by actively listening and discussing a variety of county matters by my fellow commissioners. But, I cannot sit quietly or allow lies and slander to go unexposed.”
In speaking with Miedema after the meeting, she explained that she had taken it upon herself to submit potential interview questions to Moss.
In her previous role as a teacher and now as Chair of the Talent and Recruitment Committee, Miedema has conducted many interviews. To prepare for the commissioner interviews, she researched commonly asked leadership questions which she then passed along to Moss. Some of the questions Miedema suggested were used during the interview process.
As certain commissioners and the local activist media continue with their lies and deception, it is time for the truth to be told.
Commissioners could submit questions for the interview process. Some took that opportunity, while others ran to the media trying to twist the narrative.