10/30/2005: ""We the people!""Our San Juan County Government Is In Meltdown!
By Pat O'day
How timely, the advent of the Freeholders and their blueprint for the immediate future of San Juan County governance. How frustrating it has been, as we witness two more departures this week from a Permit Center that daily falls farther and farther behind in its missions.
How frustrating to citizens of our county watching three sitting Commissioners dallying around, spending valuable time and resources, with furtive talk of a County Manager. Were it not for the Freeholders and the upcoming Home Rule Charter election, they would be ignoring this issue. So many problems this confused, and inadequate commission creates with alarming regularity. And now, their sudden desire to hire some kind of a manager? "BOCC To Hire Manager?" It's not unfair to be suspicious of their actions. They fight to avoid The Home Rule Charter, it's Amendment, and a showdown with the citizens of our county.
The good news is, the days of peculiar investments like gravel pits, Trash to Treasures, purchasing land improperly zoned for the use of the county, such irrational, knee jerk, ill conceived, expensive mistakes may finally be near an end. A qualified and experienced County Manager would simply have seen the folly of these notions and stopped them before they went too far.
The Home Rule Charter, and it's Amendment, calling for six part time Council Members, and a County Executive, will be passed by the voters November 8th. This thing called Home Rule, was created by the State Legislature as it became obvious the current structure of county government, which became law in the 1800's no longer met the needs of a modern county. Thus, Home Rule Charters are permitted so we as citizens may modernize the operation of our local governments. We will now take full advantage of this opportunity the law affords us. Thanks to the Freeholders we elected, and their exhaustive, non partisan efforts, we have before us a design that will bring a screeching halt to ever increasing friction, turnover, discontent, incompetence, misuse of our tax dollars, and our general frustration!
In defense of our current commissioners, they are caught in a system that no longer works. They are currently asked, in addition to other duties, to be skilled managers, and judges. The sitting Commissioners offer qualifications in neither department. Our new Home Rule model puts legalities in the hands of a Hearings Examiner, and day to day management becomes the duty of the new County Executive. And all at much less cost to the taxpayer! It is my hope that upon approval of Home Rule, the current commissioners will exhibit true community spirit, dedication, and morality. They can, accelerate the process, by taking a reduction in salary, and joining the new, part time, Council, for the balance of their terms. We know they resist the Home Rule Charter, but pray they will hear and respond to the voice of the people.
Home Rule! Six non partisan, part time, council members elected by only those they represent. A County Executive, new citizen rights to the initiative and referendum process, and a revue of the Charter in five years. It truly defines the terms, "A breath of fresh air" "A turn in the right direction" and "We the people!"