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Change is tough to swallow, but necessary to progressPosted Friday, August 17, 2007, at 7:47 PM
By Nick Schneider
In the last few weeks, we've talked about two ideas that have been mulled around and debated for years to save taxpayers money and help this county operate more efficiently.
When that happens, taxpayers -- you and I -- save money in essence.
It's all about change.
The ideas of establishing a county manager position and one centralized school superintendent for the entire county are both ideas filled with change and goes against what has been done in this county for the most part in the past.
Change is always tough to swallow. It's different. In some cases radically different than the way we have done things in the past.
Hiring a county manager makes a lot of sense, if the right person is selected and the position doesn't become a political appointment. For too many years, this county has struggled with making ends meet.
If you don't believe it, come sit in on the county council's budget talks in a couple weeks. It's a struggle to come up with money to provide essential services -- not to mention raises for county employees which haven't happened for a couple of years.
With a county manager, county government can be improved pretty easily from a fiscal perspective.
The county will have to pay this person a salary large enough to attract the right kind of person with the right kind of professional skills to do the job. This person, aside from serving as a central buying agent, will also prove to be invaluable as the first contact in human resources and could complete the initial job applicant process -- again saving elected officeholders time and trouble.
The officeholders should retain the option of doing the final interviews to make sure that the right person is hired and it's someone that they are comfortable with.
In addition, a county manager could handle some of the day-to-day correspondence and grant writing duties that are now handled by attorneys -- and we all know that doing those kinds of things on an hourly rate is not the most economical way to operate.
On the subject of schools and the way this county operates them, discussion of change also needs to take place.
The county has had in past years the position of "County School Superintendent," but for the most part this person served as a truant officer -- especially in the later years before it was phased out and the office -- which was located in the county courthouse -- was closed.
Now might be the time to resurrect that position and grant this person some meaningful administrative duties that will save us all some money and provide us with more funds to help educate our youngsters in the fast-changing world.
The current five school district system in this county with five separate school superintendents and five separate central office staffs is simply something we can't afford anymore with local property taxes skyrocketing through the rooftop.
It's no secret that schools take the biggest chunk of our property tax dollars. By being more efficient, we can make those dollars stretch further and ultimately benefit our children and future generations who are students in our schools.
One central administrative superintendent makes sense from a dollars and sense perspective.
I'm not suggesting an immediate county-wide consolidation of all the school boards into one, but it also might be worth talking about if we are truly wanting to change. I can see a single county school board with equal representation from the current five school boards as being a better way to operate.
I've often heard that you have to be able to change or you'll get left behind. I don't think Greene County can afford to be left behind any more. Things are changing in this county whether we like it or not. Doing things the way they have always been done just might not be the best in the long haul.
Apparently, our readers also think the ideas at least merit some further discussion based on the number of comments received recently on our Web site.
What do you think?
You tell me. I just asking.
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