Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Commissioners And Experience At The Local Level

For some time now there has been an argument as to whether or not we need professional management on the county level. At the rate the county is growing, I say yes.

The commissioners themselves are not too crazy about the idea though with re-election looming for two of them they have been wavering a bit in their stance. Testing the winds I'd guess.

A statement quoted in this mornings Coeur d'Alene Press regarding an issue thought closed was this, "We honestly at this point in time don't know what's going on. When I say we're between a rock and a hard place, we don't know where the rock is and we don't know where the hard place is." Whew!

Here's the story. Back a few months an asphalt company requested a temporary use permit for building a mobile plant on land that had once been zoned for such. It was to accommodate a highway construction project slated for the area though the asphalt company at the time had not secured the job.

Neighborhoods and schools have grown up in close proximity to the site. The neighbors organized and pulled together impressive statistics of the downside to having this permit granted. We live about two miles south, the direction of the prevailing winds which are constant on the prairie, and we found the flier in our mailbox.

I followed the story with interest and to their credit the commissioners did have hearings with the protesting locals and ultimately denied the project. However, activity has begun on the site.

This morning's paper tells us the state claims to have nothing to do with this though the company that holds the lease claims they granted an easement to the state for just such a project. That company also says an easement isn't even needed and the homeowners should have expected at some point in time this might happen. That company goes on to claim that the decision as to safety is within neither the neighbors nor the commissioners purview.

Okay, that covers all the finger pointing. My question is why the heck don't the commissioners know what's happening? That's what they're being paid for!

I went to the county web site to check on the experience of our commissioners. Not one claims to have a four year college degree. Work experience? Pretty sketchy. Car salesman. Pizza shop owner. I in no way mean to demean their backgrounds. They are all good and well intentioned men but I do think the county is growing beyond their capabilities.

When I read the quote above, I shake my head. They've been rolled and as of right now don't even know by who. Unless there was a wink and a nod along the way that has yet to be revealed. Either way, professional management employing someone with county management expertise looks pretty good to me. Experience is all fine and dandy but it's not worth squat if it isn't job appropriate,

In a word.

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