To the Editor,

At this past week’s meeting of the Mahaska County Supervisors, the Supervisors appointed a new member to the Mahaska County Compensation Commission, and also proposed appointing an additional two members to the commission. Steve Wanders was appointed by the board and Tim Van Maanen and Chuck Webb were proposed to be appointed to the Commission. All three would be fill vacancies that are currently on the Commission.

I was completely shocked and flabbergasted when I read news reports on the Compensation Commission appointments. It is painfully obvious that the appointments are politically motivated to affect land acquisition for the regional airport.

The three individuals who are likely going to be appointed to the Compensation Commission should not be allowed to take any part in deciding land values during potential condemnation proceedings for the regional airport. Additionally, as President of the Mahaska County Farm Bureau, Steve Wanders should not be allowed to serve on the Compensation Commission. Wanders should either step down from his role as Mahaska County Farm Bureau President, or he should decline the appointment to the Compensation Commission.

It is impossible for any of these three individuals to fairly serve during potential condemnation proceedings for the regional airport as they have a vested interest against the airport. All three have expressed strong feelings against the regional airport. In addition, Van Maanen donated $1,000 to TARA-PAC in 2013, which sought to elect a slate of candidates to the Oskaloosa City Council, who would work to effectively kill the airport. Additionally, Van Maanen contributed a total of $2,000 to Mark Doland during his re-election bid in 2014.

If Van Maanen, Wanders, and Webb are allowed to serve on the Commission, all three could work to set land values at exorbitantly high rates that are not justified, in an attempt to “even the score” or even disrupt land acquisition. Compensation Commission members, like members of all other boards and commissions, are supposed to work for the betterment of all. They are not supposed to “get even” with people with whom they have sparred, or even make decisions that could potentially benefit their friends.

It is a shame that we have two county supervisors who have chosen to stoop to this level. Mark Doland and Mike Vander Molen should resign their posts immediately and issue a formal apology to the voters of Mahaska County for pushing through Chicago-style patronage appointments for their friends and financial supporters.

Charlie Comfort


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