Franklin County NC: Problem of Symptoms
By: Steve Trubilla
As of today, there are 27 days until early voting starts for the 2016 Primary election. While many are focused on the Presidential Primary, and important it is, local elections are most important.
Who you elect locally will decide where tax dollars are spent. They make many very important decisions that affect your quality of life.
You decide to work and send your children to school. Those you elect decide if you will have a place to work and if there will be a school to go to. If you are hurt or become ill, you decide if you go to the hospital, they decide if there will be a hospital to go to. These decisions are not made in far away Washington D.C., they are made in county office buildings by neighbors you, by way of your vote, trust to act in your best interest.
Nationally, we face many challenges and they are very big; some say too big to overcome.
I disagree with them. The solving of them starts at the local level. When you take a simple approach to this, it is not very hard to understand. In our personal lives, before we look to improve others, it is best we first improve ourselves. A parallel to politics and governance is easily drawn. Yes, we need to address the dysfunction in Washington D.C. However I offer before this becomes our main focus, we need to address our local problems.
To do this, we need to understand what the problems are. The art of creative problem solving teaches the importance of addressing the actual problem rather than the symptoms.
I offer this as an example. If you have a broken leg, and a doctor advises you to lose weight as treatment, your leg will never heal. Yes, you trusted the doctor and now have lost your leg. If you return to him and lose the other one, whose fault is it?
To bring this into focus on a real issue affecting our community, consider the closing of Franklin County's only hospital. Why did it happen? Having studied this, my conclusion is it was not making money and that is why it closed. This is not a unique condition; it is why most businesses close.
Was the closing of hospital the problem or a symptom? This is a very important to understand, for if not the real problem what will stop the next hospital, if there is one, from closing. There is a very long history of this happening in Franklin County.
On Feb. 1, I attended the county commissions meeting and the subject of the hospital was raised at the end of the meeting during the commissioner's comment segment. At a time when the public could not comment, Board Chairman Sidney Dunston took exception to public sentiment that county leadership, specifically the county commissioners, were in part, the reason the hospital closed.
Commissioner Dunston stated the board would not enter into a "back and forth" with questions at the meeting. He did however invite those with questions to contact him on a personal level, and provided his telephone number, (919) 496-7855, for those wishing to do so.
He opined in what amounted to a lecture that the public had fallen victim to misinformation explaining prior to the closing the commission, and I quote, "Had nothing to do with the hospital," powerful words; nothing to do with the hospital. Could this be yet another symptom?
A point made by Dunston was the hospital was a private business and controlled the conduct and operation of it.
While the public could not respond to his comments, Commissioner Harry Foy was not so encumbered. He took exception to some of Dunston's comments. He addressed the chairman saying minimally he felt there should have been more advocacy to keep the hospital.
I left the meeting with no doubt Dunston, and everyone in leadership is genuinely and sincerely concerned about this issue of the hospital. I feel many are yet to realize what the real problem is, and that is economic development. This is not to say they do not know or care is about it. I believe they do, and simply do not know how to get past the symptoms.
The only way to change this is to change the leadership. Commissioners Lancaster and Mitchell are not seeking re-election, and Commissioner Dunston faces a Primary challenge by Johnnie Clifton, a local businessman.
Others are willing to take up the challenge. Some of their names are Roger Lytle, Shelley Dickerson, Michael Schriver, and Danny Pierce. You decide who is best.
We should thank those that have served and tried. It is time for new ideas, and a new direction.
Remember if you lose your other leg it is your own fault.
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