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County Chair’s bickering proves we need change to form, function and personalities of county government
Over the last couple weeks the assembly of delegates, the county commissioners and the media have opined on the structure of county government and specifically the elimination of county commissioners. What ensued not only proved what the rest of us have been saying all along, that county government doesn’t work in form or function. It is crystal clear we desperately need to increase the understanding by the greater public and clearer yet understanding of the officials themselves.
Ignorance by County is Par for the Course
What we engaged citizens and civic observers who follow these things closely witnessed, is a combination of misanalysis by the reporters, general media, pundits and editorial staff/publishers and a disturbingly erratic levels of knowledge and maturity needed to solve problems. It is also evident the poor understanding of the process of the very form of government, they are delegated to serve.
One would think at very least after years of general and specific discussion they all would at least be clear on what county government should be doing, and at the very minimum what their individual roles are in the chronology of current process or how to make changes to their body.
What always amazes us, is that no matter the subject, the amount of public outrage, media scrutiny, or time they have spent on county matters, there is consistent ignorance by all the branches, individuals and levels of county government. They simply do not know what role each other have, their individual bodies powers, the legislative flow, and/or how to direct those that fall under their collective authority. It is no wonder there have be audits by the state speaking to “improper controls”, lease issues, budget problems, that despite vast improvement in county administration continue right up to the most recent assembly and Charter Review Committee meetings held concurrently last week.
It would be funny if it wasn’t a sad microcosm of dysfunctional County Government
We witnessed the varying level of understanding, muscle flexing and maturity among delegates, commissioners and administration. We saw the Chairman of the Commissioners banter with the Chairman of the assembly about both their general and specific powers, the history of both bodies and their respective threats to eliminate the others government body. It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad and a microcosm of the dysfunction. The assembly chair being visibly and audibly annoyed when the Chairman of the Commissioners spoke out after his public comment, had cell phone on, took a phone call and continued it as he stood up only distracting the public there to volunteer their better understanding of how government should function. It was surreal when that same Chairman recalled his participation as assembly delegate and as a member of the Charter Review Committee. He said that he was against the elimination of the assembly when he was on the assembly and was the only vote on the committee against it and in the same breath said now he is for the elimination of the assembly but is against the proposal by the assembly chair to eliminate the Commissioners that he now is Chairman. No, no power struggle here. This all before they argued who held what power answering to whom both claiming they have verified by quoting the Charter and county counsel. It does seem that the exercise is OJT for some of them and it has brought enough attention so that we citizen on lookers can make legitimate proposals and the well intention and mature officials can expand that dialogue.
Demand Change from County not Selfish Power Grab
Our concern was never that they could pull off a fast tracked power grab, but they thought they could and that they would bask in tbeir ignorance so they would ignore changes that are desperately needed and long overdue. We need a government that can be understood by all, is impervious to self serving and ignorant actors and personalities and will increase civic participation as guaranteed by the very declarations of the Charter.
This proposal as predicted will be unsuccessful but it is a blessing in disguise as the proper changes will prevail. This public attention will demand that the upcoming elections address the proper process, form, and function. It will usher a restructured Charter that will have a simple but solid foundation that all will understand. It will encourage participation and much improved good governance.
Regional Voter Participation and Common Sense County Restructure ALL can understand
Recall provisions, Town by Town Representatives to the Assembly (Delegates add to the confusion) Regional District Commissioners( Upper, Lower, Mid-Cape) un-staggered Non Partisan At-Large Commissioners (elected countywide) and a singular elected Executive (County Manager) who presents the legislation, that is enacted with bicameral checks and balances, to a strong and well directed County Administration are all viable changes to the Charter that would be supported by county citizens.
The county legislation flow, the organization chart, the process of amendments, Charter Review legislation, as well as the citizen vote for changes to our constitutional equivalent and their representatives, will be clear and understandable to voters, media and all officials that will be transparent and accountable to the people.
The only thing currently clear is, it is not remotely understood by anybody, nor has it been for a very long time.
Government of, for and by the people not Insider Oligarchy
Government of the people, for the people, by the people is beautiful and not that hard to understand by design, so let’s not complicated it, by creating a non voting oligarchy that discourages civic involvement in the name of Charter that guarantees increased citizen participation.
Voice Your Choice!
Voice your choice by voting and understanding your county government.
Use it or lose it!
Joe Glynn, Yarmouth
Vice Chairman and Elected Commissioner
Yarmouth Housing Authority
The Author is a Candidate for one of two seats on the Barnstable County Board of Regional Commissioners currently held by Ronald Beaty and Mary Patricia Flynn