No need for another bureaucratic position

Published 7:49 pm Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Polk County Commission took the topic of hiring a new assistant county manager off the agenda this week, and that topic belongs permanently off the agenda. At worst, this wasteful extravagance smacks of theft from the taxpayers’ wallets.

At best, it demonstrates an unfortunate sense of privilege and an absence of sensitivity to this county’s deepest needs. The total annual base salary amounts to $76,469 and including benefits equals $96,077, according to the county finance office, for a position described as assistant county manager/CIO/personnel manager/human resources officer.

The budget amendment is would to take $16,497 from emergency management salaries and $12,942 from MIS salaries for a total of $29,439 to fund the proposed new position salary from March 10 until June 30.

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Yes, it could be done, but it would be a grievous error, showing how out of touch this upstanding commission has become from the real needs of everyday people.

Instead of pandering to wealthy wanting, the commission needs to think more clearly about the best place to put $96,077 of our tax dollars.

Hiring a new paper pusher won’t solve the county’s troubles. The Polk County Commission needs to roll up sleeves and get to work on the real issues that face Polk County.

Polk County Commission has been tasked with making choices about what to do with other people’s money. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed a 2012 projected per capita income of  $25,513.

Is one assistant county manager’s work worth three of our citizens in wages? Thirteen percent of our population lives below the poverty line. If a line item change occurs, the money could finance for more vital services.

If the position is created, then it must be open to all applicants without prejudice, with an eye toward choosing long-term local residents with deep roots in this county and people who will provide some diversity to the workforce. And yet, why this position?

Why now?

Let’s take a look at real options. If you had $96,077 of other people’s money to spend on Polk County in the next year, where would you want that money to go? Polk County needs so many things.

We have an epidemic of child abuse and a preponderance of drug-related crimes in this county.

That money could go in many better directions: The problems here are real, although many in decision-making positions may be insulated by money, prestige  and privilege from facing them. True troubles won’t be resolved by ponying up another bureaucratic position.


– Editorial staff, Tryon Daily Bulletin