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Bowling Green residents who attended ethics meeting dissatisfied with outcome

Published: Oct. 16, 2020 at 11:03 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - On Thursday, the Bowling Green Board of Ethics met to discuss and make a decision about a series of complaints filed against multiple employees.

Ultimately, the board found no violations of the code of ethics within any of the complaints filed, most of which were anonymous. The discussion amongst board members happened during a closed meeting. Several people waited outside as they deliberated.

Those we talked to said they were there to voice their concerns about being blocked on the social media pages of both Mayor Bruce Wilkerson and City Commissioner Sue Parrigin.

“They are blocking the people who they are elected to represent, and they are elected to represent all of the people not just the people that agree with them,” Cathy Severns said. Severns said she filed one of the complaints after being blocked herself.

City Commissioner Sue Parrigin admitted to hiding comments on her “Sue Parrigin for Bowling Green City Commissioner” page, but said it was for good reason as some of the comments were hostile.

“I personally don’t think that my personal social media page is a place for other people’s political opinions, and sometimes I hide their comments, sometimes they’re very threatening, and sometimes they are very abusive,” Commissioner Parrigin said.

One woman who attended the open portions of the ethics meeting said she uses social media as a way to communicate and stay to up to date with public officials, and she feels silenced after being blocked.

“Whether people like it or not, social media is the future, and it is how younger constituents are going to want to communicate. It’s also a way for people to have an open discussion. I understand that some people are going to get out of line, but when people are genuinely asking questions it’s sometimes the quickest way to get our answers,” Whitney Kuklinski, who lives in Bowling Green said.

Commissioner Parrigin said she is accessible by phone, email, or a face to face meeting, and that social media is not the only way to get in touch. She also condemned the complaints filed against her.

“Sending frivolous and unfounded complaints, especially anonymously, it seems like someone is trying to disparage me personally. I’ve served almost six years without a complaint and now there are 12,” Parrigin explained.

Kuklinski also commented on a complaint filed against Board of Ethics Chairman Barry Pruitt. The complaint cites a concern that Pruitt holds a position that is non-partisan, but partisan political posts have shown up on one of his social media accounts.

“As an ethics board member you should be held to a higher standard,” Kuklinski said. “We might sometimes all think a certain way but when it comes to being a public figure you need to go above and beyond and not stoop to posting partisan comments."

Pruitt refused to comment on any of the discussion or reasonings for the outcome of the ethics meeting Thursday night and did not give an explanation as to why.

Copyright 2020 WBKO. All rights reserved.

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