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hank4from hank springer

There recently have been some comments made that public negative criticism about Port Orange City Government should cease.  The arguments I have heard are, negative criticism is unsettling, gets little accomplished, and hurts the morale of city workers.

Negative criticism of our governmental agencies by citizens is a fundamental right and is a way of showing displeasure at negative findings.  The freedom to condemn and criticize is fundamental to this democracy, and only under dictatorships are negative criticisms not allowed.

Some arguments are sometimes offered that the agenda of citizens offering negative criticism should be questioned.  Questioning motives too is part of the democratic process, but does not adequately remove the impression of negative criticism which is founded on facts.

Many of the negative criticism directed towards the city of Port Orange governmental departments are based in negative findings of mistakes found.  Such negative criticism was not imagined out of thin air.

Much of the negative speculation and negative suspicions have developed because city management has not adequately explained how and why negative revelations are appearing almost at a monthly rate, nor has city management assured the public that proper controls have been put in place to prevent the mistakes from happening again.

If the city council as a whole would ask for answers from the city manager about the questions that linger in citizen’s minds, perhaps depending on honest answers, speculation and suspicion will lessen.

If the city council does not ask the questions that need be answered, or not receive satisfactory answers to the issues, it is the right for citizens to appear before the city council and ask again for answers.  This is what has been happening and it is part of democracy.

The alternative to citizens not asking the questions about negative findings, or not showing their displeasure at negative findings and non-transparency, is to return to the blissful days of ignorance, when all was not well in City Government, but everyone felt happy about themselves and their leaders. We have learned differently and if the reader of this editorial does not appreciate that fact, then more than ever it is necessary to defend the right of citizens to criticize, ask questions, and demand accountability.  Others have the right to disagree with some of the criticism, and to offer arguments against such criticism, but certainly it is improper to expect that negative criticism cease.  When the issues are resolved I would expect the criticism to stop.  If ever there were more need for citizens to be discontented with its local government, it is now.

Posted www.popdradiolog.com at 408 pm, July 30 2014


Factual criticism[edit]

In a factual (empirical) criticism, an objection is raised about an idea, argument, action or situation on the ground that there is something wrong with the evidence of the known experience relevant to it. Typically,

  • Relevant purported facts are claimed to be false or implausible, i.e. not facts at all.
  • Relevant facts are said not to have been definitely established as true, or the likelihood that they are true, has not been established.
  • Relevant facts mentioned imply different stories which cannot be reconciled; accepting a fact would imply another fact which contradicts it in some way (there is overlap here with logical criticism).
  • The presentation of facts is biased; important relevant facts are left out of the story, or the total factual context is ignored.
  • Other relevant facts, which have not been mentioned, shed a different light on the issue.
  • Facts focused upon are not relevant to the purpose of those concerned.

Logical and factual criticism is generally considered important to ensure the consistency, authenticity and predictability of behavior of any kind. Without the presence of the relevant consistency, authenticity and predictability, one cannot make appropriate sense of behavior, which becomes disorienting and creates confusion, and therefore cannot guide behavioral choices effectively.

Philosophers have often debated about “what makes a fact, a fact.”[1] The basic problem with facts is that observations, made using the five senses, are never completely free from interpretation – to understand a fact as a fact, requires being able to place its meaning, which in turn requires basic cognitive categorizations not contained in the observed thing itself. A fact is concluded in the interaction between the observer and the observed.

Nevertheless, most people agree there are such things as “the stubborn facts”, i.e. evidence which nobody can deny, because everybody will experience the evidence in the same way, under the same conditions. That reality is essential for effective factual criticism. If people regard the factual evidence being offered as “simply a subjective interpretation of experience”, then factual criticism is not effective. Factual criticism assumes, that people agree there exists a reality beyond their personal experience; that it is possible to obtain reliable information about it; and that people will ordinarily experience the facts in the same way.


posted www.popodradiolog.com  at 416 pm, 7 30 14.

3 Opinions on “Factual Criticism; ON THE SUBJECT OF NEGATIVE CRITICISM

  1. When citizens address the Mayor and council during their three minute period, the Mayor seldom if ever offers a response or reply other than an Elvis like – thank you very much sarcastic reply.

  2. To Concerned Citizen, I agree. And his reluctance to engage in dialogue concerning issues he would rather avoid is telling. “That being said, lets move on”. “That’s your opinion” (but he does not offer his opinion). “I’ll get back to you”.
    “I want to get to the bottom of things.” Do you get the perspective like I do that the Mayor talks to us behind a dark curtain?

  3. Another overstepping of the A&B Board

    Chairman Noftall said Joseph Pozzo, Fire Chief, has a question for the Board. Chief
    Pozzo said with the budget in session he will often listen to the audio of the Audit &
    Budget Advisory Board meetings. He said when listening to the audio of the meeting
    held on May 12, 2014, a Board Member talked about a high ranking position that could
    be done away with. His question to the Board is, has there been a survey done and did
    it come from this Board. He has talked to the Union President and asked if she was
    aware of any survey being done; however, she was unaware of any such survey.
    Chairman Noftall asked Chief Pozzo if he would like to name the Board Member that
    made this statement. Chief Pozzo said it was Member Schaefer. Chairman Noftall
    asked Member Schaefer if he would like to speak to Chief Pozzo’s question. Member
    Schaefer said the discussion was more informal than a survey. He had asked various
    Fire Department members some questions about work load. Chief Pozzo asked
    Member Schaefer what level staff he is referring to.
    Ms. Roberts asked if the discussion is about the individual performance of an employee
    or the Department. Chief Pozzo said it is the Fire Department. Ms. Roberts asked if the
    issue is the amount of work being done by this employee. Member Schaefer said he
    was told there isn’t a lot of work done by that employee. Ms. Roberts said that is the
    performance of an employee and not the business of this Board. She advised the
    Board to follow the Agenda.
    Shannon Lewis, Assistant City Manager, said the original question was did the Audit &
    Budget Board conduct a survey. Member Schaefer said no, it was informal. He had
    asked some questions of some of the Fire Department employees. Audit & Budget Advisory Board Meeting Minutes
    June 9, 2014
    Page 3 of 12
    Chairman Noftall asked if there was any manpower reduction in the Department when
    Chief Pozzo came to work for the City. Chief Pozzo said no, not after he came to the
    City. Chairman Noftall asked if there are more people doing the functions. Chief Pozzo
    said when the Fire Department was put into the Public Safety Department there were
    jobs reduced at that time. The work assignments that were not being done, are now
    being done by Deputy Chiefs. Battalion Chief’s job functions remained the same with
    additional work added. There is more work being done now through job assignments
    and that has been communicated through an informational bulletin sent to all of the Fire
    Department Staff.
    Michael Gardner, citizen, asked what the duties of the Fire Marshal are. Ms. Roberts
    said there is a job description that Staff can provide. Mr. Gardner said he was asking
    Chief Pozzo. Ms. Roberts said the job description is the best documentation the City
    has and that is what can be provided.

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