Keeping – And Standing By – Your Promise
I guess it is inevitable. When a person or a group of people in a position of public authority comes into office and actually makes good on their promises to the voters, the people who voted against them express moral outrage.
It seems as though people whose views were repudiated at the polls get even more attached to them after the election, in spite of the fact that a majority of their neighbors rejected those ideas.
What I am referring to is the fact that lately it seems as though nothing this Board of County Commissioners does comes without some sort of public grandstanding or other show of displeasure by a small but persistent minority.
And I don’t want anyone to think that is all that we hear in Winchester Hall. I am very grateful and I want to thank from the bottom of my heart all of those good supporters out there who tell us they are proud of us for sticking to our guns, and thank us for keeping our word to them. We are keeping our promises, and there are those, in spite of what you might read, who appreciate it.
But in thinking about where we are today and what we have done in our first 2 ½ years in office, I stumbled upon a written statement that four of the five current County Commissioners had published during the campaign. On September 26, 2010, The Frederick News-Post printed what they called our “Platform” on its op-ed page. In it we discussed our views on the current Comprehensive Plan, the recent down zonings and our views on the future of growth in Frederick County. We also stated what we had been hearing from people as we campaigned, which was focused more on jobs, the economy and the county’s budget than on any issues having to do with development.
But what really caught my eye was our promise to the citizens of this county at the very end of the piece. Here is what we said:
“We pledge to you that if elected we will make our number one priority the reigning in of wasteful spending, shrinking the bloated county bureaucracy and helping to create jobs. We will manage the county the same way you manage your household budget, and we will stop treating the taxpayers like walking ATM machines.”
We followed that statement by giving the taxpayers our solemn word that we would keep our promise.
Now, I will be the first to tell you that the four of us have not been perfect, and we have not accomplished everything that we have set out to do. But I believe I can honestly say that we have done everything in our power to keep that pledge.
Whether it is shrinking the county workforce by 20%, exploring privatization of certain government endeavors, entertaining offers for county-owned facilities that can be run more efficiently by private enterprise, watching out for the nickels and dimes as well as the dollars, and eliminating pension plans and drastically slashing expense accounts for county commissioners, we have kept the taxpayers first and foremost in our minds during the first half of our term. I do not apologize for it, I do not shrink from it, and I vow to continue this course for the rest of my time as a county commissioner.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I still view watching out for the taxpayer to be the first and foremost duty of any government official. I question every dollar the government spends. Obviously, much government spending is money well spent as it provides crucial and necessary services to the public. But that doesn’t mean that every dollar shouldn’t be scrutinized, and a conscious decision made as to whether or not it is a valid expenditure or one that can be cut.
That has been our philosophy; and I, for one, promise to continue these efforts through the rest of this year and the next.