Garbage service or audit...what deserves most time?

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My Views by Thomas J. Barr, Publisher

 Garbage service or the county audit?

Which should gain the most attention?

Which one did?

Well, you can probably guess that answer.

Magistrates spent 30 minutes talking about the best – and most cost efficient – way to get paper waste from the animal shelter.

And, just days after receiving an audit of the county financial books, there were no questions asked. Even though, the audit report had a trio of concerns listed.

I guess it is a bit strange that no time was spent on the audit.

Strange that there wasn’t some concern. Maybe the responses presented satisfied the curiosity of the magistrates.

But it was a perfect opportunity to put the county judge on the spot. But they chose not to.

Good or bad, it is what it is.

Maybe that is a sign of peace and harmony.

The only thing mentioned was a statement read by Bullitt County Judge/Executive Melanie Roberts.

“Due to the recurring problems of our audits, I suggest the fiscal court fund hiring a person who can assist county government in performing the requirements brought out in this current audit as well as previous ones.”

Not really sure what the statement was meant since there were no comments or questions from the court members.

But, for the sake of journalistic interest, maybe I can take a shot at it.

It could be that the county judge is bucking to fill the job of finance officer.

She has proposed that position on several occasions with both the first and the second set of magistrates. Both times the proposal has been shot down.

It could be that the judge is trying to comment on the job performance of the county treasurer, who is responsible for a portion of the audit issues.

The point, other than filling a little white space, is that sometimes we get hung up in little issues.

Yes, the county could save a few dollars in the way it selects its garbage hauler for the animal shelter. And, yes, it could save a few more dollars if the trash is hauled to the county’s dumpster in Shepherdsville.

But, when the county receives yet another audit with concerns voiced by the state auditor, we have no discussion.

This is not a personnel item. It is an item that needs to be discussed in public.

In this world of transparency, which will be the most overused word in governmental jargon today, it makes no sense. Financial issues should be a concern.

It should be something that the county talks about what has happened and how it should be corrected.

We’re not looking to hang anyone in any office. But, in these days of openness, it would seem that the county’s leaders would want to talk about this in front of the public.

Have their been audits which were much more damaging? You bet.

Are the errors pointed out in the latest audit earth-shaking? No.

Are they correctable? Sure. In fact, responses clearly outlined the course of action.

We can’t see hiring additional people to do the job which is being done in 119 other counties. The problems outlined are not that serious.

We don’t know the meaning behind the statement. Those in attendance heard it and can fill in the blanks themselves.

There are ways to justify the hiring of another person in county government. That person would be responsible for financial reporting, human resources and grant writing.

The county has been very fortunate to avoid many personnel problems that occur in similar sized businesses. Human resources is a major part of any business.

I appreciate the discussion on the animal shelter being sparked by an editorial in The Pioneer News. Makes me feel good that someone is reading.

My bigger concern is that we let some of the larger issues sneak by without a hint of discussion. That is something that keeps me awake at night.