February 2009

The Commissioners meet formally twice a month, on the first and third Mondays at 1 p.m.  The meetings are always open to the public unless an “Executive Session” is declared.  Laws prevent government officials from declaring “Executive Sessions” on a whim.  There are restrictive criteria for calling such meetings.  I would say the most common reason to hold an “Executive Session” would be to discuss an employee’s performance.  As a rule, there are news media at each of our meetings but very few members of the public, unless we’re going to discuss something concerning them. 

In December I attended a “New County Commissioner” training session in Indianapolis.  It was the largest group of new Commissioners in recent history.  Apparently, voters wanted change.  The class was extremely interesting but yet I was comfortable with how much I already knew from my many years of being a township trustee, and interacting with the Commissioners and County Council.   

This month at our meetings we have discussed such things as Trails, Insurance, Library Appointments, and the possible creation of a county website.  We have heard reports from the Health Department, GIS and our county attorney.  We have dealt with requests for three new Sheriff cars, a new GPS system for the Health Department ( did you know that when you install a new septic system, it’s plotted by GPS so that there will always be a record of the location? How cool is that!), a request for additional legal funds for Drainage among others.  As County Commissioners, we cannot approve the purchase of any of these items, that’s the responsibility of our seven member County Council.  While we are the “legislative body,” they are the “fiscal body” of county government.  We can only support such purchases.  The County Council meets once monthly on the second Tuesday following the first Monday, unless of course the first Monday is a holiday, then the Commissioners meet on Tuesday and the County Council meets on Wednesday . . . whew!  How’s that for government talk.   

Let me leave you this month with the subject that’s on most of the minds of government officials today.  “Streamlining Government” is a goal of the Governor.  Essentially he wants to see the elimination of township governments and restructuring of county government to have one “executive” instead of three County Commissioners.  Both of these items, in my humble opinion, are bad, bad, bad.  Anytime you remove “grassroots” government in favor of a government that is harder to access, it can’t be good for the citizens.  I urge you to watch this situation carefully as bills have been introduced in both the House and Senate in Indianapolis to see that this change takes place.  If you need more information feel free to contact me, Don Amber, at 609-2833, write me at 3977 NW Carlin Court, Churubusco, Indiana 46723 or email me at damber@whitleynet.org or bison1112002@yahoo.com .  Whether you’re concerned about higher taxes, or less government, this legislation will affect you!  In this case I believe that less government will cost you more taxes. 

Thanks for listening and hopefully they’ll let me do this again next month.  Until then, stay safe!!

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