Elections board needs real plan

Published 9:26 pm Saturday, December 6, 2008

Similar to the Big Three automobile manufacturers, yet much closer to home, it appears the Lawrence County Board of Elections wanted a bailout of its own.

And just like Congress told the carmakers, the county commission should have told them to come back with a plan before just handing over more money.

But, unfortunately, they didn’t. Two commissioners, Doug Malone and Tanner Heaberlin, caved to the board’s threats of a lawsuit.

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The board has been plagued with a variety of recent problems that all smack of mismanagement or someone being asleep at the wheel, were seeking at least another $14,000 just to get through payroll for the rest of the year.

Board officials claim the department was under funded and is doing more work than it ever has before.

That is likely true. But, you know what? That’s life.

The reality is that the board knew what its budget was but has done little that we have seen in recent years to cut expenses or curb spending.

Simply saying, “We have to do this so hand over the money,” is simply unacceptable.

The office has a track record of not paying attention to who the money is going to and why, handing out raises when it should be trimming salaries and simply not taking steps to operate more efficiently and live within its means.

Every single office in the Lawrence County government could claim that it is underfunded — and maybe they are. But you don’t see those offices threatening a lawsuit if county leaders don’t hand over the checkbook.

While the reality is that the county commissioners will have to pay the bills from the election, taxpayers should demand more accountability in the office and ask for a clear plan to both close out 2008 and move into 2009.

Congress told the automakers, “no, not until you show us you are going to change the habits that got you into this situation.” We wish the county had the nerve to do the same right here at home.