By: Steve Trubilla
When it comes to solving a problem, before the undertaking of it starts, it is first necessary to understand what the real problem is. This would appear to be common sense and obvious. It is not always as simple as all of that. Conversely, I offer it is rarely that simple.
Take the example of purchasing radios without the result of effective communications. The problem is obvious, the radios do not work. Is that the problem? Spend more money to fix them, and call it an investment. Do the radios now work? Was that the problem?
So let us build a building to store the radios that do not work. Finally! We have solved the problem; can you hear me now? Was that the problem, of course not?
Then there is the problem of no competitive bidding to purchase this building? Is that a problem?
While we are talking about problems and radios, here is one I have not seen a press release on.
Are any of these very, very, expensive radios and/or components missing?
A "cradle to grave", simple inventory and audit trail tracking of contracts, purchase orders, and disposal documents would in a very clear way answer this.
Do you think it will be done, and do you think Franklin County will ever see a 100 percent full and independent audit done? My guess is, if it ever is, there will be a surge of county job openings. It could be the Crossbar Hotel will also have fewer rooms available after it is all said and done.
Why is it we can come up with millions for this and millions for that and we cannot afford a 100 percent full and independent audit? You know the answer to this, and it is a problem. Just about every election, the audit is a campaign promise. Do you think this could be a problem?
All of this reflects symptoms of what the problems are with radio communications in Franklin County, North Carolina, and not the actual and true problem.
The radios are only one of a number of examples that could have been cited to make this point. I could have picked from a long list. Another really good one would have been this year's Franklin County budget proposal.
Have you seen it? No, I mean really, have you seen it? The combined requests from all Departments were a plus up of six million, four hundred thousand dollars. I typed the number out to try and show just how big it is, $6,400,000 is a great deal of money. If my calculations are correct putting one dollar bills end-to-end they would stretch for 620.20 miles.
Think about that for a few minutes, let it sink in. If you traveled 620.20 miles south you would end up south of Pensacola, Florida.
I do not know if anyone else is going to ask this, but truly someone should. Did someone give the banshees the keys to the safe?
Fees are going up, Franklin County staff is being increased, and there are rumblings of increased taxes. Property valuation is a bouncing ball. I have studied it and studied it. It is hard to find anyone than can make sense of it. One thing you can be sure of is someone is going to tell you what you have is worth more. Not that they are willing to pay you what they say it is worth.
Who is guarding the barn door? My friends, not only are the horses out, so are the cows, the chickens, and even the stuffed animals are dancing in the streets.
During a recent country commissioner's meeting, the superintendent of Franklin County Schools, Dr. Rhonda Schuhler, thanked the commissioners for fully funding the school board's budget request this and last year. I sensed the expectation was being set for next year.
At the meeting there was an air of jubilance. Comments were made lauding the funding level as unprecedented. Those comments were followed with much more is needed; millions more.
This begs the question: Just how much more money is it going to take? Ask yourself, if someone said to you I will give you all the money you want, how much would you ask for?
Try this little exercise with a stranger you happen to meet. Let me know how you make out.
As it relates to the future are your taxes going up, will Franklin County ever have fully functioning radios? Will the schools ever have the funding they really need? Will we ever see a countywide audit?
Ask a county commissioner these questions at one of their meetings. You will quickly hear, "we do not answer questions." You will hear the real problem, and witness the symptoms for yourself.
Leadership and management matter!