Sat. Mar 2nd, 2024

By Samuel Strait – Reporter at Large – March 5, 2022

Most people believe that when they elect local Representative and
Officials, that they are the ones that make things happens in local
government.  It is a common error of thinking in the world we currently
find ourselves living in.   Make no mistake the process is much more
convoluted.  Likely when you are on the phone talking to your district
supervisor, or filing a complaint with a local elected official, they
have a veritable army of bureaucrats ready and waiting to deflect your
concern for what ever the problem may be.   You can’t really believe
that most in elected office actually do the work necessary to properly
conduct the “people’s business” on every item of business they should
encounter?  Or, even become well enough informed as to ask the necessary
and important questions of the bureaucrat that is peddling the latest
bit of government porn?

Have you ever questioned an elected official on some point of business
only to see that perplexed look come over their face as if they have no
idea what you are talking about?  Have you ever witnessed an elected
official asking for some bit of clarification that even a three year old
knows the answer?  Have you ever noticed the often pointless bit of
congratulatory pandering when officials are confronted with “no brainer”
projects that will become problems down the road if only they had done
their homework and asked the right questions?

It only takes a few visits to get the undeniable impression that our
representatives quite often ARE NOT THE ONES RUNNING THE SHOW.  As all
levels of government grow at an alarming rate, here in Del Norte County
by 130 employees just in the last twelve months, we now have nearly as
many working for local governments as work in the private sector.  At
least that is if you still believe in any data that the government provides.

Since living in Del Norte County for nearly fifty years, the constant
refrain by government is “we can only offer the limited services that
our poverty stricken County budget allows”.  If only the local
population were to provide more funding, services and infrastructure
will “get better”.  This happens every where government exists, County
government, the City, the State, the Federal Government, in our schools,
the harbor, fire districts, and every where else government has its
tentacles.  Local government over the past half century has grown at a
pace to be unrecognizable, yet the service remains deplorable.

Recently, Supervisor Chris Howard, District Three, voiced the complaint
that more government positions were unfilled, and the County was
struggling to fill those positions due to the County’s lack of
competitive wages and benefits.  It is not likely that it occurred to
Supervisor Howard that “more” government was very seldom a path to
success as he “stumped” for yet more government employees.  If the
quality of employee does not measure up to the task, why are they being
hired in the first place or continue to be employed by local
governments?  If the employees for the peoples business were actually
quality employees would it be necessary to retain those that were not? 
If the County was able to hire on the basis of merit and not need as
many, could not the savings by a reduced force of employees be offered
to attract fewer but more competent employees?

Government in the United States was never intended to be as bloated as
it is now.  We experience it on the local level every day.  It is well
past time to dump “dead wood” in the ranks of our local bureaucracies
and retain only those that are worth the additional pay that smaller
government would allow.  Starting at the very top of local governments,
departments, and executive positions that have no benefit to the local
population should be eliminated.  Only the very best at what they do
should be retained to advise local office holders.  They, local office
dwellers as well, should be forced to up their game or be replaced at
the next election.  Hiring more and more unqualified employees at the
cost of an ever growing local government does not solve the problem when
government is under preforming in the first place….  When you have a
sickness, it makes no sense when trying to get well, to hang about more
sick people……   Quite possibly, Supervisor Howard, it is time to
make a major course correction.  Should you not be on board with that
over the remainder of your current term, perhaps it is time for you to
withdraw and retire.

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