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Note to county: Get rid of your boards

By   /   December 18, 2012  /   Comments

Dougherty County, as well as the City of Albany, is governed by a commission that appoints various boards that study certain issues in more depth and make decisions.  I’m going to recommend that the Dougherty County commission get rid of them all. After all, if you’re going to buck their decisions, act like you understand the situation better, then countermand them and their decision that was designed to operate in a responsible manner…

The case in point is a decision by the library board to close two libraries.  The Dougherty County library system was way to much outgo in relation to income.  So, they made a tough decision and announced the closing of the two least utilized libraries.

Plenty of wailing and gnashing of teeth ensued.  Some segments of the population cried racism, threatened to withhold support from TSPLOST if they weren’t reopened (which was fine with me) and then the whole thing quietly died down.  Last week, it came back when commissioners decided to try and reopen the libraries.

First, the library board decision happened to be the right one.  They made a decision to cut expenditures during a tough economic time.  In fact, an argument could be made that they didn’t go far enough.  I applaud the decision.

However, when county commissioners attempt to grandstand by trying to countermand them and thereby score points with certain segments of the community, I have to respond.  The argument laid forth was not that perhaps those twoparticular libraries weren’t the best option.  Instead, it was simply to reopen the libraries and deal with excessive expenditures.  Oh yeah, that was freaking brilliant.

The libraries need to remain closed.  If one is reopened, then another one needs to be closed.  I’m sorry for those who lost jobs, but the library system isn’t a jobs program.  It’s a service to the community.  There are still plenty of libraries available.  Are they as convenient?  Probably not.  Unfortunately, people in the areas of the closed libraries weren’t storming the doors to take advantage of those services when they were open.

However, none of that matters to the commission.  Instead, they want to flex their muscles and show who’s really in charge.  That’s fine.  However, if they’re going to do that, then they should just disband all of their boards.   After all, why waste time with boards when it’s clear that commissioners believe that they know better in the first place…the fact that the board made a financially responsible decision and the commissioners who seek to reopen these libraries just want to score brownie points regardless of what it costs the taxpayers has nothing to do with anything.

Tom Knighton is the Editor and Publisher of the Albany Journal.

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Tom Knighton is the publisher of The Albany Journal. In November, 2011, he became the first blogger to take over a newspaper anywhere in the world. In August of 2012, he made the difficult decision to take the Journal out of print circulation and become an online news agency, a first for the Albany area.

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