Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Stop wasting our taxpayer dollars

    I have not spoken to a single person agreeing with or approving of the school board’s handling of the superintendent’s dismissal—the unanimous votes to rehire, then fire within months.  Six-hundred-thousand dollars (probably twice that including hidden costs, plus the costs of the new hire search) of taxpayer money was spent to eliminate him over “differences in philosophy”?
    The board is the boss. They set policy, write job descriptions and tell their employee (the superintendent) the philosophy. Compliance is his job. If he doesn’t, there are steps to dismissal that don’t give a golden parachute to the offending party. You can forget future school-bond elections.
     Then there is the county’s gift to the defunct Croy Creek Ranch. There was a clear contractual expectation that the county be repaid the 900,000-plus dollars we donated if the extended care facility did not come to fruition. Those good-hearted people, trying to create a new senior living center, found that donors are more willing to contribute to the animal shelter than support the previous community builders.  I’m sorry they failed.
    But that county contribution was taxpayer money.  Multiple county services could have put that money to use for the general good. Only one current Board of Commissioners member was part of the original decision, and he voted alone to have the money returned to the county.
     Then there are commissioner raises:  It takes probably two years in that job to begin to get the big picture and develop perspective. These elected officials have huge responsibilities, develop a broad knowledge base, and attend a lot of evening meetings to allow public input. Perhaps the current base wage should be a starting point.  A 5 percent increase after each re-election (following a full elected term) would be a way to compensate commissioners as they develop. 
John Vladimiroff
Blaine County


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