The political upheaval occurring this week in Thurman is deeply unfortunate, and it's not just that the town's public image suffers when some residents delve into mud-slinging, false accusations, back-stabbing and gossip-mongering.
The distressing aspect is the outcome - that three honest, upright, dedicated community servants are leaving their positions - one ousted by the town board, and two top officials abruptly resigning.
Thurman Supervisor Red Pitkin confirmed his resignation this week, after a contentious town board meeting last Tuesday that included angry, accusatory discussion over how a youth recreation director's job position was handled.
This was after a seven-month series of skirmishes between the board and some townspeople over whether the Thurman Emergency Squad, which the town supports, should have prudent financial management, accurate bookkeeping and stop enriching its treasury while burdening taxpayers.
The town government has been withholding their annual payment of $33,000 to the squad pending receipt of a financial statement from the agency detailing their annual expenses and accumulated surplus.
Squad officials countered that their surplus money is needed for upcoming additional expenses so the squad can appropriately provide services the townspeople expect.
Also at issue has been the squad's low response record. During the first three months of 2010, the squad had responded to three emergency calls out of 24 in its service territory - a ratio that improved dramatically soon after it was made public.
Also, there was the issue of the squad's ever-changing financial figures and a lengthy delay on an audit requested by the town board. Then, after an audit was received months late, it seemed incomplete and further information was needed on the present expenses and balance.
The last straw, apparently, was that the squad announced they'd hired an attorney to represent them in settling the dispute. In response, the town board decided to have their own legal representation to negotiate their positions.