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Government management
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 The most amusing comment on the banking crisis that I have heard runs, "the government would be a poor manager." Really? Unlike the current group of bank managers, who have managed not only to tank their own banks but also to take national economies with them. If that’s not "poor" management I don’t know what "poor" management would look like.

 Then I started looking more closely at the governing of Newton County. On the table this month was a move to reduce the pay of all Newton County employees, including the ones we talk to on the phone, who work at service desks, who perform all the actual services that we enjoy as residents of Newton County. Yet, just last month, the same Board of Commissioners approved spending almost $200,000 "to design road improvement for Livingston Lane."

 I have no doubt that the residents of Livingston Lane and those who use it will deeply appreciate those improvements, once they are made. What seems odd to me is that designing improvements, without more, only benefits the designer of the improvements.

 That some improvement design is on the shelf in some Newton County office doesn’t benefit the supporters of Livingston Lane. And it spends $200,000 at a time when the county is looking for ways to save money.

 One way to save money is to defer projects, such as road studies, long-term planning, etc., that have no immediate impact on the citizens of Newton County. That sort of planning, which mostly benefits the planners in the short run, can wait until we are past the current financial crisis. The need for such plans won’t go away, nor will those who would prefer to plan than to actually deliver services.

 Editors note: The Board of Commissioners approved non-personnel budget cuts at a special called meeting Wednesday.

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