June 4, 2007
NOT EXCUSES - WHEN?
the 2004 campaign slogan, “Action not Excuses?” That’s all
we heard. Things were going to be different. Things were
going to be better. Are they?
Instead of doing
anything, the BOC passes the
buck—no matter what it is – by referring things to the County
Manager. Instead of answering questions,
the Commissioners refer them to the County Manger. The County
Manager will look into it. The County Manager will get back
to you. The County Manager will take care of it. The County
Manager has real problems following through and completing
any assignment even though he makes $82,000 a year. The
Commissioners have real problems doing anything,
including relating to the citizens that come to them for
help and their lack of requiring the County Manager to follow
through on any issue.
Here are a few
items that have been talked about since the beginning of
term of this commission. These
items sit in the “Great
Abyss” where things linger until
they are forgotten about.
County Roads—as recently
reported by TWG, certain areas get more attention than
others. Incidents like the Felton McMichael Rd. report
make citizens realize that the BOC is not engaged in County
Business. The buck is passed to the County Manager, whose
expertise is talk, not action. http://www.taxdogs.com/road042107.htm
county has been paying over a year for a website and its
maintenance. It is doubtful that the BOC even knows how
much it is costing. There is nothing on the website and
it is not utilized. The County Manager told the BOC in
February 2006 he would give them prices, etc. for the
cost of the website. That never happened and even though
TWG has questioned the cost and lack of use, nothing has
been done. Supposedly an employee was assigned to work
on the website. No action.
Go to the “County
website” at www.jaspercountyga.com.
Click on Planning & Zoning—it says “Planning and Zoning
content goes here.” It is the same with all departments.
When is the website going to be done? It’s been like that
more than a year. With all the extra time employees seem
to have on their hands—1 ½ hour lunches, wedding
showers during working hours, coming and leaving whenever,
etc.—you would think something could be done. No! Only
excuses, no action.
long after the current BOC took office, the County Charter
was going to be updated. There are needed changes to the
Charter such as outdated mileage rates, meeting days and
times, etc. All the Commissioners wanted salary increases,
but since they had just cut the budget for several departments,
the public reacted and nothing was done. Again, no
further action, only excuses.
County Personnel Policies—there
are reports of employees working for the county that are
rarely at work, are reimbursed for “comp time”—even though
we are told there is no such thing-- running businesses
on the side, convictions of deposit fraud (bad checks)
yet working with the county finances, etc. There is no
supervision of personnel from the Commissioners office
all the way to Public Works Dept.
For years citizens
have talked and heard of gravel, sand, oil, tires, etc.
going out the door at Public Works. Several people reported
a load of sand being picked up at Feldspar in the county
dump truck that was taken to an employee’s house while the
county paid for it. Sources have told TWG that county owned
air conditioners were sold by a public works employee during
the Courthouse renovation. When does it ever stop? Not until
someone supervises, puts in rules, and fires people that
don’t abide by them. What do we get? No
action, only excuses.
employees get to take the county vehicle home, while others
are not allowed to. A resolution passed several years
ago states that the employees can not take a county vehicle
home. A copy was produced at a BOC meeting many months
ago. The Commissioners were going to discuss this and
have it “on the next agenda.” That was about 6 months
ago. It’s never been discussed again. No
action, only excuses.
County Beer and Wine Licenses—a
few months back, it was reported that the County Manager
issued Lakeview Restaurant a license to sell liquor by
the drink. Jasper County ordinances state that only private
clubs, such as Turtle Cove, can sell liquor. Yet our County
Manager signed off on this license. He could have asked
others that have worked for the county for years, but
no, he’s the County Manager and either ignorance or pride
prevents him from asking about things he doesn’t know.
He acted, then gave excuses.
TWG has asked
the BOC on more than one occasion to have public hearings
when anyone applies for a Beer and Wine license. These hearings
used to be standard procedure, along with background checks
for the applicant. Citizens had input on where the alcohol
would be sold as well as who would be responsible for the
sale. The County seems to lack any procedure other than
to take someone’s money for the license and sign off on
it. Reportedly there are other violations the County
Manager has signed off on. Instead of reprimanding the County
Manager for such a flagrant violation of the law, it
was excuses, no action.
a big campaign promise that has been reduced to “only
doing the minimum” required by law. There have been meetings
without the proper (required) postings, including setting
of the millage. Comm. Hill didn’t attend the meeting,
yet signed the resolution stating he was there. After
complaints by citizens, the County Attorney defended the
action to the Attorney General’s office and handed the
County a $700+ bill to do so. Lots
of excuses, minimum action.
promised monthly financials that would be posted outside
the BOC offices on the bulletin board. Where are they?
They haven’t been presented to the BOC in several months.
During January, the CFO presented the BOC financials showing
a $3.5 million “surplus” for the 2006 year. He didn’t
tell the Commissioners that $3.6 million of that “surplus”
was collected on taxes that were for the 2007 county expenditures.
We need action and fewer excuses.
380 Bypass—the former
county attorney GAVE the right of way back without getting
the money back. There will be legal issues as 380 progresses.
The BOC has been reminded about this on a regular basis.
Nothing has been done. Only excuses,
It takes all
5 commissioners to get things accomplished. It takes all
5 to work together and do what is best for Jasper County.
It takes the BOC to see that the County Manager is doing
his job and accomplishing what he has been told to do. That
is not and has not happened. The citizens and
the county suffers because of it.
are only about 12 months until new people can qualify for
many of the elected offices in this county—including
County Commissioners (whose former title was the Commissioners
of Roads and Revenues). We need people who CARE about our
county. We need people who KNOW something about our county
and have lived here long enough to know what is going on
and why. We need people who want true accountability and
therefore OPEN government. We need people who can
remove non-performing employees and replace them with workers
that are qualified and willing to work.
five commission seats will be up for grabs. Citizens need
to take an interest and recruit and support qualified candidates.
We can do better. We must do better. We need action because
we are tired of excuses.
** To keep the taxpayers of Jasper County, Georgia informed
as to where and how
their tax dollars are being spent.
** To keep the taxpayers abreast of local policies and
discussed and enacted.
** We advocate more open government, less government spending,
and lower property taxes.