Worker’s comp fixes make sense

Published 10:50 pm Saturday, May 30, 2009

Lawrence County’s Commissioners have to have thick skin — even more so right now during tough financial times.

But the group that takes a fair amount of blame and criticism — and much of it justified — deserves a proportionate amount of praise for the work done to curb the county’s worker’s compensation expenses.

This may not be the headline grabbing, overnight expense reduction work that many taxpayers would like to see, but these operational changes have made a tremendous difference in how tax dollars are spent.

Two years ago the county spent $605,000 on worker’s compensation charges. This year, that cost has been cut by nearly 25 percent to $459,547. And only about $140,000 of that will actually come from the general fund, the area of the county’s budget that is most associated with a lack of revenue.

In addition, the county created a safety program and also split these expenses out so that each office pays their own portion, a move that creates more accountability and puts the burden on each department to follow safety practices.

We applaud the commissioners and administrator Tami Meade for taking these steps to make the county workforce safer and more efficient, at the same time freeing up valuable tax dollars to spend on areas that better benefit the public.

The commission — and all elected officials or public employees — are often under fire when it comes to finding ways to balance the budget.

While these individuals have to be able to shoulder the criticism, they also deserve praise for doing the right thing.

We hope to see this same trend continue, protecting county workers and county dollars.