Tribune misses point of commission work session

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 13, 2008

Every Tuesday morning the Lawrence County Commissioners conduct an informal work session, sometimes lasting well into the afternoon.

These informal meetings address a variety of issues concerning grant applications, economic development, weekly reports from our department heads, informational updates from county officeholders, budgetary issues, and other items that may come across our desk.

It is usually a pretty busy day.

Email newsletter signup

We have done this for more than five years, or about 275 meetings. A reporter from The Ironton Tribune has attended less than 10 of these public work sessions (that’s about 3 percent).

Wednesday’s editorial criticized Commissioner Doug Malone and me because we respected the time of more than two dozen people who had a variety of issues to discuss with the commission at this past Tuesday’s meeting, which a Tribune reporter attended.

The three commissioners did split up and meet with private citizens, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, ODOT, veterans, Congressman Wilson’s representative, and county office holders, which is a typical practice when there is a big crowd.

After almost two hours of meeting with these different groups, each commissioner briefed the others about the issues discussed; however the reporter had already left, even though we were not finished.

In my opinion, the Tribune first of all over-hyped the importance of this particular work session, and then left a false impression of Commissioner Malone’s and my dedication to the county budget.

It is not news that Lawrence County, like almost every other government, has budget limitations, but making ends meet is a process.

As part of this process, I know officeholders are dedicated to delivering needed services to the taxpayer efficiently and effectively.

I know this because on a regular basis county officeholders often discuss their budgets and what they are doing to meet their obligations to the public at our Tuesday work session.

Also, every week I personally review the budget and work with other officeholders to solve budget issues.

Unfortunately, the Tribune editorial board has missed the point this time and tried to create a controversy where there simply was not one.

Hopefully, the next time you read an editorial from The Ironton Tribune you will ask yourself if you are reading a thoughtful, informed opinion or just another 3 percent effort to create a controversy in our community.

Jason C. Stephens is a certified Financial Planner and a Lawrence County Commissioner.