What was the point?

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Tuesday was expected to be a day when county office holders had their feet held to the fire and answer how they have gone about a mandated 15 percent budget cut by the Lawrence County Commission.

And on some level they were.

Clerk of Courts Les Boggs, Recorder Sharon Gossett-Hager, Common Pleas Court Judge Charles Cooper, Municipal Court Judge Donald Capper, Sheriff Tim Sexton, Emergency Management Agency Director Mike Boster, and a representative from the auditor’s office showed up to outline their work to trim their respective budgets.

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The idea for the session came from Commissioner Tanner Heaberlin. As it turned out, Tuesday’s session was curiously absent of Commissioners Doug Malone and Jason Stephens, who did not object to the work session when it was recommended.

Malone met separately with citizens concerned about a drainage problem and Stephens met with a resident about another issue. With the importance of those issues not undervalued, it seems Malone and Stephens should have participated in this important discussion.

After all, the office holders who did take the time to prepare themselves and make a presentation should have had the courtesy of having the entire commission in attendance.

For the office holders who have cut their budgets as asked, they have to wonder if there is a double standard, particularly because two of the commission members didn’t even hear their methods to address what was asked of them.

It brings into question the entire relevancy of the commission.

A real question now is, what exactly was the purpose of the work session and the work these office holders put into informing the commission of their progress?

And as for taxpayers, there is concern about how the commission is expected to hold the office holders accountable if two of the members weren’t there to hear an update on the progress of the cuts.