A search conducted by The People News uncovered a tendency among law enforcement and police media to embrace the idea of take-home cars. No surprise there, but to justify their argument they use some dubious assumptions that I doubt would withstand serious scrutiny. And remember, it is not just patrol deputies that are using take home cars, all the higher ranks also have take-home cars even though the annual mileage they are recording doesn't seem to justify them being supplied with a vehicle at all.
It is my opinion after seeing the results of our investigation, the BCSO is indeed using vehicles that have long passed their best and may be a future liability to the county, but at the same time there seems to be an unjustifiable allocation of late model, low mileage cars to employees that could perform their duties just as efficiently if a more cost effective policy was adopted.
That's what I think. What do you think?
Hide and seek
This is a comment about the Bradley County Commission retreat and public meeting held in Gatlinburg at the end of September. Apart from the fact that the whole affair was organized in an underhanded and sneaky manner by County Mayor, D. Gary Davis, so as to eliminate public input, there was a number of occurrences that need to be mentioned to highlight just how devious a public official can be in order to appear the good guy. Both the Cleveland Daily Banner and the Bradley News Weekly ran stories on the retreat as if they were there to cover the event, they weren't. This is not to fault them for reporting on it, but where did they get their information? It had to have come from inside, as everyone at the meeting was associated with county government except for two reporters from this paper and the wife of a commissioner. My guess is that Mayor Davis had his assistant do the work for the other newspapers, which doesn't seem kosher. What's more, the effort seems to be an attempt to use the media for propaganda in an effort to make something appear something it is not - which is worrying.
When a public servant such as Davis goes to so much trouble to hide his actions, usually there is a reason. Could it be that the reason behind Davis' odd actions is an attempt to test the waters for future citizen exclusion in public business? Could it be that Davis has made closed door deals to change the healthy infighting of the commission by enlisting the help of a teambuilding seminar to indoctrinate commissioners and others into feeling guilty if they show any opposition to a Davis sanctioned action? Conspiracy theory you may be thinking? Absolutely! Davis told The People News that the cost of the retreat could not be calculated until the middle of the week, yet the Banner printed it on the Monday. And why try to scuttle away a teambuilding exercise in Gatlinburg?
Davis has often said that the reason for the teambuilding seminar was to use cooperation to make county government better. Better than what? If he means removing disagreement from commissioner's deliberations then why not just have himself make the decisions and square them with a team-ready nodding head commission. Better still, eliminate the commission entirely for a "better" and more efficient county government and have Davis call all the shots personally - behind closed doors, of course.
County commissioners are elected to represent the interest of their constituents. And, for that to happen the democratic process demands that all disagreements are placed before the public so that citizen pressure can dictate the outcome. Sometimes a messy process, but a politically healthy one. I believe Davis and his shadowy cohorts are trying to eliminate this necessary function of government under the guise of teambuilding and they are trying to do it in every aspect of government, city and county.
The teambuilding strategy taught by the Performance Excellence Program has been used successfully by industry for decades because it teaches employees of a company to work together as a team for the good of the Company with the CEO guiding that concerted effort to make a profit. For performance excellence to work in government, it would be necessary to organize government employees into team working units with the citizen's representative acting as the CEO to guide that concerted effort, not organize the commission into a team. Disagreement among commissioners is healthy. It means that when a consensus is reached it is a good consensus, but to remove the independence of the citizen's representative would take away the citizen's voice.
Maybe that is the whole idea.
That's what I think. What do you think?