Quick delivery of a solution: a board's strongest asset
Why does Fayette County Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink, frequently criticized for not knowing
what she is doing, always, always have to be the one to open her mouth and intervene, when
board-to-public discussion and problem solving runs amok, to provide logic, reason and the elusive
path that follows law/county code or protocol?
Why does Zimmerlink even continue to care to save her fellow commissioners at times, when
they're clearly stumbling in a meeting discussion or motion discussion, unsure of what to
do...thinking out loud with off-track discussion that sometimes desperately needs redirected back
to the issue or motion and someone to simplify, cut to the chase, summarize logically and problem
And after everything that has been said and done, why would she even care to help, when others
struggling for the right words occassionally even stop talking to give her a helpless, overwhelmed
look and room to get in a word edgewise? Sometimes, the looks beg her to jump on in anytime now!
If the minority commissioner had sat like a bump on a log and said nothing during the recent
election board meeting, who could have blamed her? The notice that ran in the newspaper,
announcing that the election board would meet "to hear concerns regarding absentee and write in
votes in Bullskin Township," mentioned the names only of the other two commissioners and the
county chief clerk. No Zimmerlink.
As some people reading here saw the notice in the local paper from only 2 of 3 commissioners,
announcing the election board meeting to discuss allegations of voter fraud, too many readers
report initially thinking that someone was still trying to rob Zimmerlink of last fall's election.
Some even thought that she was excluded, somehow, from sitting on the board of elections this
week. To call the ones who jumped the gun to the wrong conclusion foolish or paranoid would be
unkind, given how weird things do get sometimes in Fayette County politics.
When some county decisions clearly are made prior to a meeting and then there's a "quick public 1,
2 motion and vote," it's painfully obvious that nobody wants Zimmerlink's input or to hear her
stated objections, for what appear to be consistently good reasons to wait or vote no. We do not
suggest that she sit quietly, either, and not state why she opposes some vote or has a different
opinion on an issue. We're just not referring at all to those kind of "1,2" moments, discussions or
We're looking, on the other hand, at those occassional awkward, non-scripted, other times, when
commissioners as leaders have to think quickly and soundly in public, about something more
complicated or complex and must immediately problem solve... that's when some meeting issues on
the table get more confusing than they need to be, without her input.
Zimmerlink expertly cuts to the chase with a plan of action or appropriate response that soon
leaves the struggling rest even sometimes visibly more relaxed and nodding heads in agreement --
i.e., appearing quite relieved on occassion that she was there, offering input and a solution or plan
of action to implement to problem solve.
It's as though then, those instances when she comments and provides the elusive solution or
needed reasoning, that they don't appear to mind her actually being one of them. After all, her
quick, accurate, dead-on delivery of a solution to a problem is her speciality, and it also makes her
peers look better than they would have, if they continued on without her input.
If they appreciated Zimmerlink's efforts and ability to make sure that the county is operating the
way it should be and showed respect for her knowledge of procedure and protocol that saved them
from making mistakes too many times, things might be different.
While everyone knows that Zimmerlink would never just sit like a bump on a log at any meeting and
deliberately not offer up a quick, dead-on delivery of a solution just to make someone else look bad
for taking a different path of action, we ask her to hold her thought a little longer sometimes --
during those awkward, unscripted times, when her peers are struggling and dependent upon her to
fix the mess.
By doing so, she may be able to help them become better leaders -- perhaps even more motivated
to become as familiar as she is, with county codes, laws and proper protocol for problem solving on
all the boards that they serve.
About three months ago, this column said that Zimmerlink shouldn't have to be providing all these
little sidebar tutorials at public meetings to her fellow commissioners. Three months later, we see
an even more dire need here to say it once again.
While we sent inquiries to the commissioner and county clerk to ask if there was a valid reason why
Zimmerlink's name was omitted from the published election board meeting notice in the newspaper
and await a response, we can only hope that there was one.
26 May 12
(Editor's Note of 29May12: Commissioner Zimmerlink confirmed today that she was unaware that
an election board meeting was scheduled until she coincidentally saw the notice signed by 2
commissioners and the agenda at the election bureau on 15May12. Read more in today's RANTS.)