Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Letters to the Editor

August 28, 2012

Due diligence and "stumping the chump"

Greensburg — Dear Editor,

In my letter last week, I stated the focus of the recent public airport expansion meeting "should have been about developing a regional airport facility where all who will benefit, will also pay a share of monetary support.

I allege by their doing, elected and appointed officials are positioning Greensburg's taxpayers to wrongfully bear a financial burden for others." This letter is to address how it is that public officials have failed to use due diligence in applying their fiduciary duty on behalf of the people.

Let's begin by affixing a meaning for due diligence. It is the process of evaluating a prospective business decision, as a buyer spends time going through the financial situation of a prospective acquired business, its legal obligations, customer records, and other documents. The buyer wants to validate his or her opinion to see if it is truly a good decision.

Next, let's apply a meaning for "fiduciary duty." The fiduciary is one that another has placed the utmost trust and confidence to manage and protect property or money. The fiduciary accepts an obligation to act for the other's benefit. The duties of a fiduciary include loyalty and reasonable care of assets within custody. All of the fiduciary's actions are performed for the advantage of the beneficiary.

In that a big deal was made by pro-expansion proponents of the airport's environmental assessment, it is but an indicator as to whether the project can be accomplished and we can be good guardians of God's green Earth. The unfinished task was an economic assessment to indicate whether to proceed with expansion in accordance of ability to provide financial support.

The pro-expansion set speaks a language of "jobs, jobs, jobs" and economic prosperity, without validity. It acts as though certain things can remain unmentioned, and its just too bad for the public.

That game is called "stump the chump" and shame on these officials for playing it. Even more shame upon them for forcing things to the point that their duty must be spelled in simplistic terms. "Due diligence in applying fiduciary duty" is the inherent promise one makes when running for public office and is also inherent when any are appointed to a public position. It is expected in social contract by the people on Election Day.

One might wonder what are the fiduciary options. Consider that two types of decisions stand at odds. The first is outcome-based and the second is process-based. City government officials have employed the former in that they have set a goal (airport expansion) and all that is encompassed in the project is aimed at goal attainment (outcome).

In short, the object is to hammer away until we "git 'er done." Outcome-base decision making is flawed because it sets project completion as the goal, without giving environmental and economic considerations their full weight.

Process-based decision making is what opponents of airport expansion have advocated. It asks that a valid process be followed to arrive at a decision that best serves the public interest. It is the better option because it sets the public's best interest as the goal. In applying due diligence in the environmental assessment, the concern is whether alterations made to the Earth are excessively invasive. Due diligence in an economic assessment asks whether the project is cost effective in terms of the supposed benefits that are to be derived.

Fiduciary duty in process-based decision making means the outcome is contingent on the answers to the questions. For example, if alterations to the Earth are excessive, then the decision to proceed on environmental grounds is nullified and the decision is "just" because it serves in the public's best interest.  The same reasoning applies when considering if the project isn't cost effective in terms of the supposed benefits that are to be derived. The project could as well be environmentally "just" but economically "unjust," or vice-versa.

What if the project is both environmentally and economically "just?" Process-based decision making doesn't discriminate. The project proceeds with a stamp of approval because it too, serves in the public's best interest.

Having determined what are fiduciary options, then what enabled the path that public officials took?

Have you ever heard of the Abileen paradox?

Its the kind of thing that happens in politically correct situations where outcome-based decision making is used. Everyone just goes along, to

get along.

To make a long story short, four people agree to eat dinner in another town on a hot Texas afternoon. The trip consumes four hours. The food wasn't good and they return, hot and exhausted.

Then to their discovery, they admit it was a trip that nobody wanted but that all had agreed because each thought it was good for the group, and nobody wanted to offend. They each would have preferred to sit comfortably, but did not admit to it when they still had time to enjoy the afternoon. The Abileen

paradox is a form of groupthink explained by social psychology theories of conformity which suggest that human beings are often very averse to acting contrary to the trend of the group.

Jeff Martin, Whiteland

Text Only
Letters to the Editor
  • No Headline Provided Children need your voice Dear Editor:I am writing today to bring attention to a local organization, Advocates for Children, which provides one-on-one volunteer advocacy and support for kids involved in the child welfare system.I think we can all agre

    July 24, 2014

  • No Headline Provided Dear Editor: Now that the huge flow of ill-gotten taxes from legal gambling in Indiana is on the wane, it's apparent that the next move by our supposedly strait-laced statehouse officials will be to legalize and tax the heck out of, you guessed it, m

    July 24, 2014

  • Six decades of problems To the Editor:I am writing today about something that has been bugging me for 64 years. It is about my addition, called Highland, and the problems we have had with city government.I bought two lots in 1950 from Sheldon Alvreson. We had our house buil

    July 22, 2014

  • letter to the editor Tri Kappa grateful for successful parade Dear Editor:Tri Kappa would like to extend our appreciation to all those involved in helping make the Fourth of July Parade possible again this year. We appreciate Porter-Oliger-Pearson Funeral Home for the us

    July 17, 2014

  • Starting the conversation To the Editor:This is a subject that is always in the news. It is drugs, mainly marijuana. I was at my dermatologist’s, Dr. Dubois, the other day and we were discussing Colorado making marijuana legal and the state of Indiana making it legal for medi

    July 15, 2014

  • Fair share in property taxes When the Legislature’s Blue Ribbon Commission begins its look at the state’s taxes this summer, there will be talk of business needing to pay its “fair share.” But what is fair?Hoosier companies currently pay 50% of the state’s total property tax. Sh

    July 15, 2014

  • Great crowd for parade To the Editor:The 2014 fair parade was just awesome. I want to thank Joyce Holtkamp for inviting me to participate. Also, I want to thank Ortman Farms for the use of the hay wagon (during baling season no less), the Blasdel family for a place to stor

    July 15, 2014

  • Hope is eternal To the Editor:This is a subject I don’t really know how to address. In our lives, we have all had something we knew was unattainable, but couldn’t let go.It may be a job or it may be social standing, and we’ve all had love that we knew was not to be.

    July 8, 2014

  • Weighing in on the airport expansion In the Greensburg Daily News (GDN) article of 6-17-14 titled “Proposed Airport Expansion To Boost Job Creation, Officials Say”.... one thing lacking is current statistics to support anything stated.Industries are changing and we must change with them

    June 24, 2014

  • The debate on E-cigarettes The debate on E-cigarettesDear Editor:Here comes the sound of anti-smokers talking about the harms of e-cigarettes, you know the ones that burn no tobacco, only heat up a solution containing nicotine. No harms are known either to the smoker or anyone

    June 17, 2014

Featured Ads
AP Video
Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.