When did my county government turn into an episode of “Oprah”?
When word came that outgoing Clerk of the Court Ernie Lee Magaha decided to end his era in office by showering his employees with unbudgeted raises, the Escambia County Commission should have put its foot down.
Instead it doubled-down on that bad example and gave away raises like Oprah handing out keys to Pontiac G-6 sedans.
Never mind that Magaha’s raises weren’t in the budget — nor were anyone else’s for that matter.
You get a raise! And you get a raise! And that handsome man in the uniform over there gets a raise!
Except just like those saps in Oprah’s audience, now the taxpaying citizens of Escambia County are stuck with the sticker shock of having to pay for it.
I like law enforcement officers. I like raises, too.
What I don’t like is a county governed by intimidation, naked cronyism and reactionary thinking.
And that is exactly what I — and you, fellow citizens — got on Thursday night.
What exactly would Sheriff David Morgan have done to commissioners if a majority of them had told him that as much as they love, admire and respect what the law enforcement community does every day, they could not give raises they don’t have money for.
Sent them to bed without any supper?
Clapped them in irons and frog-marched them through the sally port at the jail on the charge of governing within the budget?
Gone to Tallahassee to demand an audience with the tea party-loving governor who had the audacity to suggest state employees should contribute to their own retirement plans as their private sector peers have done for decades?
Is this what you think will lure people to our shores to set down roots, build businesses and raise families, seeing an elected official scold, shame and wag his finger at commissioners as if they were teenagers caught out after curfew?
Why do we remain the poorest metropolitan community in Florida? Why do young people with ambition, education and desire abandon this place, where it is almost always summertime and the living is easy?
Because we let the loudest voice rule the day.
Because we make decisions about the disposition of tax dollars based on our emotions and not on budgetary reality.
This is not about how much this community respects and appreciates sheriff’s deputies and police officers.
This is about being an adult.
This is about having a budget and living within it.
This is about creating a blueprint for a county government that does not whiplash itself from one financial crisis at the speed of someone’s hurt feelings or bruised ego.
Bring back sanity.
Brother, I wish.
Right now, I’d settle for just following the rules of arithmetic.
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Last edited by hallmarkgrad on 11/18/2012, 6:41 pm; edited 1 time in total