Letters to the Editor

Cemetery questions demand answers

I am commenting about the disturbing conduct of the Island County Cemetery District 1 commissioners. I attended two separate meetings of the Cemetery District. The first meeting was to get acquainted with how the cemetery was being run and who I might be dealing with in case of my own demise.

At the first meeting, the then-chairman stated that the job of the commissioners was to oversee the financial aspect of the cemetery but the actual running of the cemetery was left to Michael Dougliss. During the meeting when discussing expenditures the commissioner stated that no permission of the commissioners was needed for expenditures less than $100. The meeting was non-eventful; however, I was not impressed with how the commissioner communicated with the folks who worked at the cemetery.

I also attended the second meeting where Mr. and  Mrs. Dougliss and worker Dave were told they had been placed on administrative leave without pay indefinitely. I have worked in the public sector prior to retirement and had never heard of someone put on leave without pay indefinitely. The acting chairperson dodged all questions by those in attendance either by saying she had no comment or that she was told not to discuss employee situations publicly.

According to your article, the people at the audit department did not provide legal advice. If that is a true statement, the acting chair made up the excuse so as to not answer any questions.

Mr. Dougliss advised her that she had his permission to discuss it openly since he would like to know. Evidently, the day the cemetery crew was asked to turn in their credit cards, keys and any other property of the cemetery, the locks were changed and the place was closed. No explanation has been provided as to why these long time residents have been treated the way they have been. It would seem that anyone who has worked at the same place for over 13 years, and in the case of Mrs. Dougliss 23 years, who has increased revenue, and maintained the cemetery in such excellent shape should be treated with such disdain.

Maple Leaf Cemetery is a public cemetery and more people should be involved in the decision making. For the commissioners to put on leave without pay for an indefinite period of time the very folks who have brought the cemetery from almost nothing to the beautiful place it is today is not in the public’s best interest. I urge all of you who have loved ones buried in this cemetery to come to the next public meeting on April 9 and demand the answers we all want to know.

D. McNeely

Oak Harbor


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