There are so many Obama crises cropping up recently that it’s hard keeping up with them. But it is in these group discussions where I keep abreast of what’s going on not only in Washington and in the state capital, but right here in the local county administration offices. As with most discussion groups, one learns to sort out the wheat from the chaff.
During this most recent discussion, two idioms were implied, idioms that were used while I was growing up during the Great Depression. They were implied in this group discussion to describe the growing challenges the Cherokee County Commission is facing while balancing the budget for next year.
These challenges are, as most of us know, the result of Obama’s inept economic inflationary policies that have found their way into the Cherokee County budgetary planning sessions.
The first of these two idioms, “penny wise and pound foolish,” was used often when a penny could actually buy something.
The second idiom, “caught between a rock and hard place,” was used by farmers who were forced to make decisions, generally hard decisions, regarding their farm operations — when to buy seeds or when to sell cattle or grain.
Both of these idioms were implied while discussing the challenges the county commissioners are facing today. The commissioners find themselves, as some believe, “caught between the rock and hard place” as they struggle to establish a new budget for the coming fiscal year without raising the millage rate on county residents, while meeting the reality of needed cost of living adjustments for county employees, some who had gone several years without any salary adjustments due to the recession.
The commissioners are faced with the “penny wise and pound foolish” idiom as they learn their highly trained sheriff’s officers are being recruited and hired away by neighboring police forces with substantial increase in salaries and benefits. Even the local school board is reported to have hired county officers away from the sheriff’s department with substantial salary and benefit increases.
The “rock and hard place” idiom comes into play when the commissioners weigh the cost of training new officers and then, after training these officers, watch them resign to take a better paying job elsewhere, with the reality of bringing the county pay scale more in line with the inflationary pressures caused by Obama’s inept leadership in Washington. It truly is a real case of being “caught between a rock and hard place.”
Some of the old-timers remember that in 1981, when Cherokee County was still a rural county, the sheriff’s department had only 18 officers. Times have changed since then and with this change from a rural community to a bedroom community to Atlanta have come new demands for security officers in Cherokee County.
Population growth, newly created courts that need officers in the court and new Obama regulations that require new procedures requiring round-the-clock officers has put new pressures on the commissioners to keep the citizens of Cherokee County protected within budgetary constraints. One group member pointed out the most important duties of a government entity is to provide its citizens with protection from all forms of physical or economic harm.
I greatly admire those men and women who willingly step forward to lead during these challenging times, at every level of government. As one listens to the harsh rhetoric being cast about by contending candidates for the several offices on the July 22 ballot one has reason to wonder why they do it. The alternative is another King George III, Hitler or Stalin, all evil despots at their worst.
Our nation’s history tells us of those men whom we honor today as America’s Founding Fathers and of the challenges they faced as they too stood up and took the heat of public scrutiny but then made those hard decisions that have allowed your family and my family to enjoy the blessings of living in a free nation led by ordinary men and women who still believe in America and its way of life.
This is a county issue that is not going away until resolved. Perhaps the commissioners should consider a Blue Ribbon Panel to help them analyze and come to grips with this very real issue. Could help.
Donald Conkey is a retired agricultural economist in Woodstock.