Dear Editor:

Dear Town Manager Mitchem:

The Pagosa SUN asked you when you provided the Town Council with an engineering report that warned against installing a 40-year old used chairlift atop Reservoir Hill. You said you provided the report to them one week before they voted to move forward with the project. Now, after a little investigation into that statement, The SUN reveals that you did not actually provide the report to the council until a month after the deciding vote. At this point Mr. Mitchem, I feel obligated to tell you, “Your pants are on fire.”

I trust the council members feel as duped and outraged as I do. You pitched to them the idea of installing the chairlift, along with a package of other amusement rides, on Reservoir Hill with a price tag to the town in the amount of $4.3 million. But in your presentation, you withheld the fact that your hand-picked expert specifically warned against using the used chairlift, calling the entire idea unwise and unsafe? I know if I were being asked to make a decision on a project that entails hanging a lot of heavy machinery over the heads of people walking below, I would want to know about any professional opinions advising against it. I suspect the council would as well. But you didn’t give them that chance. Instead, you sat on the negative chairlift report until after the council cast its vote, and then lied about it when pressed.

The entire chairlift debacle begs the questions — whose agenda is really being pushed here? Mr. Mitchem, we have entrusted you to provide accurate information to the Town Council so they can make informed decisions that are in our best interest. When you withhold vital information from the decision-makers, it seems you don’t trust them to do that job. After this latest incident, it seems we need to ask ourselves whether we can any longer trust you to do yours.

Matt Roane

This story was posted on November 28, 2012.