Davy Crockett's motto was "Be always sure you're right- then go ahead!" Pretty good advice whatever century you are living in. It implies that before making a decision, especially a decision based on a preconceived notion, that doing the necessary research is in order.
It would apear to close observers (or maybe even not so close) that the Lewis County Board of Legislators are the anti-Davy Crockett's. The motto in the Legislative Chambers seems to be "If I think it, it must be true".
Take a look at last years budget fiasco. With great fanfare and with an attempt to create a crisis atmosphere the Board of Legislators announced that they found it necessary to lay off 52 employees. They did this without looking at what services were provided, what funding streams paid for the salaries and most importantly, displayed a warped sense of priorities by planning to eliminate a vital position such as the Emergency Management Coordinator, while at the same time maintaining the Trail Coordinator position.
The bottom line here was that last year's "crisis" was largely contrived, the Legislators had to admit in essence that they really didn't have a handle on what they were doing and had to back away from most of the cutbacks- after unneccessarily disrupting the lives of the targeted employees and the taxpayers that were depending on services provided by these same departments.
Did this episode teach our hard chargers anything? Apparently not. Earlier this year, Legislator Jerry King announced to the Board of Legislators that it was necessary to close the Croghan Transfer Site because, he claimed it was losing money. He thought it, so it must be true, right? Not to be out done, Legislator Rick Lucas immediately chimed in that keeping the Croghan Transfer Site open was costing his taxpayer constituents in Osceola money. Apparently Legislator King thought it...and Legislator Lucas also thought it to be so.
It turns out the Legislative Committee in charge of solid waste had been told ahead of time that indeed the Croghan Transfer Site was making money and was in the black. King and Co. chose not to go with the facts presented and decided to listen to whatever inner voices were telling them the opposite. The Legislators spent weeks trying to prove that the Croghan Transfer Site was losing money, but depsite throwing every cost they could think of at it, it still showed a profit. Again, after lots of wasted time, effort, and stress, the Board of Legislators had to admit they were wrong and leave the Croghan Transfer Site open to continue its excellent service to the people of the Croghan/Diana/New Bremen area.
Ah, but now they've learned, right? Check again. This mornings Watertown Daily Times has a story about Lewis County bringing its Community Recovery Center back under County control after attempting to privatize the services. Anyone with the slightest understanding of the dramatic need for services in this area in Lewis County could see that this was a doomed plan simply based on the dollars budgeted. But, as with the other instances what the Legislators "thought" took precedence over facts, and once again they have been forced to back peddle.
Now, this year, this county is facing a real budgetary crisis. What will this Board of Legislator's priorities be? Will they "Be always sure you're right- then go ahead"?
We know the answer to both of those questions. These are the "anti-Davy Crockett's".