Wed, April 08

Letter: Recorded message is concrete record of incident


Mr. Hal Cope’s letter to the editor, “Airport bullying? Get the facts,” is puzzling.

It is puzzling because the precise language used by Mr. Dan Lueder that was directed at Mr. Doug Palmquist was recorded. Yet, in his letter to the editor, Mr. Cope suggests that public disclosure of the language contained in the recorded statement might somehow be based on “[unreliable] newspaper reports, hearsay, or third-hand information.” For Mr. Cope’s benefit, here are the facts.

First, Mr. Lueder is a $100,000 employee of the City of Cottonwood.

Second, in a recorded telephone message left on Airport Commissioner Jim Moeny’s telephone, Mr. Lueder directed several remarks at Mr. Doug Palmquist, a volunteer on the Commission. (A verbatim transcript of the message was furnished to the City Manager, the Mayor, and some members of the City Council.)

Third, in the recorded message, Mr. Lueder stated that he wanted Mr. Palmquist “reined in … he went around me … which really pisses me off.”

Fourth, in the recorded message, Mr. Lueder also stated: “. . . either he is going to ah kinda ah rein it in a little bit and get with the concept of the commission and or he and I are going to butt heads dramatically and it’s not going to turn out well for either one of us.”

Fifth, Mr. Palmquist has stated that he considered the recorded message about him a “threat.”

Sixth, Mr. Lueder admitted to this newspaper in an article published on Jan. 27 that he made the statements contained in the recording. He said “there was no malicious intent, no threats.”

Seventh, the City Manager is quoted as saying in the article in this newspaper dated Friday, Jan. 27, that Mr. Lueder has been “counseled” about his “strong personality.”

Eighth, the City Manager also stated in the same article regarding Mr. Lueder’s strong personality that: “We dealt with it effectively.”

Whether one believes such statements made by one of the city’s most highly paid public servants directed at a volunteer are outrageous, a threat, or acceptable behavior is for each citizen to judge.

However, the language contained in the recording cannot be contradicted and Mr. Lueder’s and Mr. Palmquist’s sharply contrasting opinions of its meaning are there for all to judge.

For me, I find such a message by a public servant directed at a citizen volunteer unacceptable, outrageous, inexcusable behavior.

However, from the tone of his letter, Mr. Cope apparently finds the recorded language used by Mr. Lueder acceptable.

However, regardless of one’s judgment about the language used, it cannot be denied that the statements were made and directed at Mr. Palmquist.

The recorded message is a concrete record of the incident.

Bob Oliphant


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