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Millcreek Journal

Backlash arises at city council meeting over city report card survey

Sep 30, 2019 02:37PM ● By Kirk Bradford

City council members watch Marv Poulson return to his seat after a heated exchange. (Kirk Bradford/City Journals)

By Kirk Bradford| [email protected]

It was almost business as usual at last month’s regularly scheduled city council meeting. After discussing land zoning and future construction, it became time for public comments or concerns. Marv Poulson, a long-time resident of the area, took the podium and presented the council with some papers. They were his critiqes typed in red responding to statements in last months city’s report card that favorably reported the city’s perceived status. The news article was written by the city’s paper with statistics from an outside survey company, Y2 Analytics. The article shined a bright and positive look at the community’s view in areas involving the city council and its actions. Poulson felt many disagreed.

The Millcreek newsletter article wrote the following three survey statistics. Eighty-eight percent feel the city is headed the right direction. Ninety percent approve of how the mayor and city council are handling things. Ninety-two percent would likely recommend Millcreek to friends and family as a good place to live.

At the podium, Poulson quoted Abraham Lincoln: "You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” He explained he felt the article showed blatant “arrogance" of the city council to disregard the remarks from other city members that may not have shined so brightly on the report card. 

“After strenuous efforts to contribute to this community in a positive constructive way, I have been ignored,” Poulson said with anger. “Claims from this so-called survey favorably countered the other citizens’ comments, recommendations and concerns, and has no basis in fact. Crow as you may, what counts most is citizen involvement, positive or negative as you perceive it.” 

He continued driving home his perception of the article as editorially positioned superior to his opinion and other standing members. Mayor Jeff Silvestrini elected not to "start a debate at this time" and noted Poulson and his remarks. 

Silvestrini told the Millcreek Journal after the meeting that, “the statistics represented in the newsletter were based on responses from a survey done by an outside source.” He showed the reported total number of surveys sent out was approximately 9,600. Millcreek’s population is just over 60,000. 

“I estimate it was roughly over 700 citizens who responded. I was assured that it was an above-average response based on this type of survey,” Silvestrini said. “They (Y2 Analytics) indicated not only was it an above average response but it also only showed a margin of error of only 3–4%.”

 At press time, Y2 Analytics had declined to respond to the Journal’s request for the number of negative responses they had received and how many similar surveys they had conducted to determine the 3–4% result variation.