Carl King, member of the Curry Charter Committee, Nesika Beach
Yesterday’s meeting of the Curry County Board of Commissioners was, as one official recently described them, a continuation of the insanity we have watched for far too long.
After another “paid political announcement” about the housing grant (see what a great job we are doing), the chair announced that he and Gary Short had been working on a proposed revised budget, taking the $2.1 budget and adding the $1 million in helium money, to start discussions on how to reduce the department budgets to get by on $3.1 million. We were then shown on the big screen a chart that had department cuts that for any meaningful department ranged from 10 percent to 55 percent with most at 30 percent or 40 percent. Guess which department was cut by only 10 percent?
When questioned on how he and Gary arrived at these numbers without any communications with the department heads, he suggested that they could always just cut everyone by 40 percent. But wait, guess which department was not included in the uniform reduction, but stayed at only 10 percent?
When challenged on why everyone but he and Gary were seeing these numbers for the first time on Wednesday morning, he said he didn’t want to spring them on folks on Tuesday. He then admitted that he and Gary had completed their work on Friday. There was no explanation why the chart could not have been emailed to all late on Friday or on Saturday or Sunday or even Monday. I bet the other commissioners and many if not all department heads look at their emails at some time during a three-day weekend.
No one asked, and no one offered an explanation while I was there on why departments having only one or two full time employees were being reduced by a percentage which would require a layoff and/or significant pay cut for those persons, but that there would be a reduction in the commissioners’ budget which would not require any cut to the commissioners salaries.
I left the meeting after Commissioner Itzen resumed his demeaning Commissioner Brown’s suggestion that the prior citizens committee recommendations had not been addressed (those citizens did recommend part-time commissioners and a professional administrator) and as the chair was about to resume demeaning Commissioner Brown’s view that citizens had not been involved in the process. These were, of course, only “slight disagreements” as the sound bite of the month is “we all really like each other, respect each other and get along on most things.”)
Why do the chairman and Commissioner Itzen think any citizen would want to appear and speak at a BOC meeting when their usual response is to dismiss any views contrary to their own as unworthy of consideration, questioning their motives and labeling the person or group daring to differ as ignorant? Perhaps only ignorant retired lawyers from Massachusetts are too stupid to think their views and opinions have merit.
Yes, the insanity continues!