By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Financial transparency
Placeholder Image
I was surprised that County Commissioner Tim Fleming [R] thinks that recently "found" budget savings should go toward retaining Newton County employees. All organizations, including governments, should hire or retain staff only because they are needed to advance the goals of the organization. Only family businesses can sometimes afford the luxury of handing out jobs because a family member needs one.

My concern is that the sum of $100,000 can be so easily "found" in the present Newton County budget.

I admit to finding the odd quarter or dime in the sofa. And even on occasion to finding a five dollar bill in the laundry. But unlike the Rep. William Jefferson from New Orleans, I have never found $100,000 in my freezer or, as in Newton County, simply overlooked it.

If the members of the county commission are that much in the dark about the current budget, they can only imagine how the rest of us feel. Greater transparency, both in terms of what the commissioners can satisfy themselves to be the case as well as exposing income and expenses to the public would be a very good idea. I am really leery of people who assure me of "facts," only to come up with another set of "facts" just months later.

Revenue projections and actual income do change as well as expenses, which can lead to different "facts." But those changes should be known to be likely in advance.

And not "surprise" anyone, especially our county commissioners. We need to take the "surprise" out of county accounting and have greater transparency both for our commissioners and ourselves. Posting detailed and timely financial information for the county to its Web site would be a step in the right direction.

Patrick Durusau is a resident of Covington. His columns appear regularly on Fridays.