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The Tentacle


April 6, 2010

A Dynamic Transformation

Farrell Keough

We have seen a tremendous sea change in the Board of County Commissioners of late. Much of this is due to the newly appointed Commissioner Blaine Young.

 

This is not a light or glib statement. The contention on this board has existed for some time; and the serious difficulties of the budget have brought many of these ideological and personal management styles to a head. But there is an obvious difference in what is occurring – very tough alternatives are being brought forth and the directions of decisions have finally changed dramatically.

 

These known problems in the budget are not new; hence the change can only be attributed to a change in the makeup of the board. Commissioner Young is the impetus for that change and he deserves great credit for pushing these hard and necessary decisions.

 

It should be noted that my support of Commissioner Young is not without strong differences of opinion. Mr. Young supports a candidate for delegate in District 3-A that I adamantly oppose. We have also had a number of differences of opinion on Mr. Young’s radio program on WFMD 930 AM. But, and this is important, our differences have not harmed either our friendship or our ability to argue issues.

 

For example, Commissioner Young was an early supporter of Pay As You Throw legislation. I very much oppose this government program. Mr. Young has spent a great deal of time studying this proposal and he ‘may’ be changing his mind on the topic with the new information he is receiving. I can only hope, but more importantly I appreciate, the ability to acknowledge new information and determine a course of action based upon more input will out.

 

In short, no candidate will ever meet every desire, vote, and perspective we deem correct. But, when a candidate not only supports, yet pushes such a necessary agenda’s, they deserve our support.

 

And this brings us back to the point, the diametric change in the Board of County Commissioners and the budget process. Since the entrance of Commissioner Young, a responsible shake-up has taken place! Other commissioners have noted some of these propositions have been ‘irresponsible and knee-jerk.’ But, in truth, continuing with the status quo is truly irresponsible and worse, wholly political. It seems in their minds that making these hard decisions may harm their political alliances and futures. Yet, they were elected to represent the citizens, not to build their political resume.

 

Since the appointment of Commissioner Young, we have seen a significant change in how to deal with our budget. We have seen a focus on redundant government programs. We have seen a focus on necessary cuts in not only property expenditures, but a shift toward slimming down growth in personnel. These are the truly hard decisions we elect people to make.

 

It is always a sad situation when a person loses a job. But nothing about government should be different than that of the public sector. Too many companies have either had to cut back or, in the worst cases, shut down. This means that the citizens paying the taxes to support government have far less income to pay for programs or services, which, while they may be nice, are not a necessity. Since the appointment of Commissioner Young, this perspective has come into much more defined focus. In short, it is more than coincidence that since this change in the board, real and meaningful cuts in our local government have begun to occur.

 

The hard work has really just begun. For instance, the serious issues around funding for Fire & Rescue Services have been breached by Commissioner Young in conjunction with Commissioner John L. “Lennie” Thompson, but the solution has not been achieved. Those commissioners hoping to keep the status quo and build their political careers have tried to use this issue to disparage Commissioner Young. In truth, it is having the opposite effect as the public is becoming well aware that we are far and away over-staffed.

 

It is no insight to note that we will continue to see more difficulties and dissent – that is obvious. What we need to focus on is the “outside of the box” alternatives and hard, but necessary, cuts being proposed. We may be on the cusp of seeing our county finally become the small government entity it was meant to be.

 

fkeough@hotmail.com

 



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