It was embarrassing the way Bill Konyha was treated at Tuesday night's Madison City Council meeting.

Konyha was at the meeting to share a preliminary report on his study of Madison and Jefferson County's economic development structure.

One councilman in particular - Kevin Kellems - was rude in his questioning of Konyha.

One of Konyha's observations was that we need a full-time economic development specialist. He said the job was too big for a mayor to handle with all of his or her other responsibilities.

He offered the opinion that an economic development specialist needs to be schooled in many disciplines - from finance to real estate to recruiting to fundraising.

Kellems twisted Konyha's words and accused him of saying the mayor isn't smart enough to handle the job.

Konyha said nothing of the kind. Kellems offered to check the meeting transcript. If he heard Konyha say the mayor wasn't smart enough to handle the job, he wasn't hearing what we heard.

Konyha would not enter into a war of words. He politely, but firmly, defended his statement and told Kellems he misinterpreted the comments.

We agree.

Having a strong economic development program is important to any community.

In the past several months mistakes have been made and tempers have flared.

What Konyha presented Tuesday night is just one piece of the puzzle for our elected officials to consider as they develop a program that works for the entire county.

It is important that we work together to build a program that will serve our community. There is room for disagreement - it provokes meaningful discussion.

But hurling vitriolic untruths is not productive.