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Editorial: Fountain Photo Upsets Councilman

Managing Editor

Last week I posted a photo taken by one of the Gazette family while visiting Mike Chappel Park with her kids. (See bottom of page 1-A).
In short, it really upset Councilman Steve Shuttleworth who visited our office and spent some time reading me the riot act about embarrassing the Town and questioning why I would ask candidates on our Facebook page what they thought of the situation.
I informed Shuttleworth that we had previously published a photo in 2010 with a report interviewing the former Parks and Recreation Director about the park and a fountain that was beyond disgusting.
To sum it up, we posted the photo on our Facebook page and the next day someone with the Town went and cleaned the fountain.
Shuttleworth's response was, "All someone had to do was mention it to staff. Yep it shouldn't have gotten that bad but it did. Like the pirate shirt says "the floggings will continue until moral improves" Not sure it required the editor to querry candidates on how they feel about it. I guess there aren't any other issues worth reporting on."
My response was, "... we did go to staff first back in 2010 about another fountain at the same park. I can post the link to that report from our archives complete with a photo. So this isn't the first time this issue has come up. You would have thought after that report the Town would have someone checking on fountains at least once a month... right? Guess not."
Shuttleworth's response was, "I never claimed I cleaned it, staff did, and quickly. My point to you was a friendly call to staff would have handled it. You live here too. You don't have to always try and make staff, council or management look bad. It’s been 3 years since you mentioned it. I'm sure other thing in town get over looked too. Your inference is town manager and or council isn't capable I get it."
Actually, my inference is simple. It's a drinking fountain at a park where kids play and no one should have to tell anyone to keep them clean in the first place. Let alone achieving the nasty state it was in.
To be blunt, if the Town doesn't want to maintain the fountains until we run a report (2010) or post a photo on Facebook (last week) then cut the fountains off at the base and let a vendor put in a vending machine that dispenses bottled water. We applaud the Town for all of the improvements at the park.