There is no trust between the citizens of Newton County and the Newton County Board of Commissioners. Nancy Schulz, Levie Maddox, J.C. Henderson, Lanier Sims and John Douglas have a vote of no confidence by the electorate.
This did not happen overnight. It took several years of bad judgment and failed policies by the board to create this unworkable void.
Poor fiduciary decisions also played a major role. The people know what the board did. It is no secret and how any member of the board can look one of their constituents in the eye is beyond me.
We have to move forward from this point, as one of my college buddies used to say — “I believe they have reached such a low point they have to look up to see the bottom." This perfectly describes our current position.
First things first: We have to start somewhere and the most obvious bloodletting is with the county attorney, Tommy Craig.
He has taken advantage of gullible boards for decades and consequently drained valuable cash resources from the people.
It is way past time for him to go. Advertise for an in house attorney at $250,000.00 per year plus benefits and a virtual avalanche of qualified applicants will apply. Maybe I know too much, but I can tell you that no former employee of Craig should be considered.
According to many sources, just the savings in bogus lawsuits will more than pay for the in house county attorney. I can give you a list of bogus lawsuits which accomplished nothing but put millions of your tax dollars in the county attorney's pocket. He negotiates in bad faith up front to create business for himself.
An in house attorney on a fixed salary would have no reason to do that. You can expect the overall legal expenses to drop like a rock, and if the Board wants to continue to seek a permit for the proposed Bear Creek Reservoir, no problem. There are engineering firms all around the country who can give you a firm price for securing a permit. I would suspect most of them get more permits per year than Craig has gotten in a lifetime.
One more thing: If your county attorney depends on connections or buying off some officials to get something done, you probably don’t want it anyhow. If it is not by the book, but bought with holes like a sieve, it’s bad for the people, bad for the County and you are better off without it because sooner or later it will come back and bite you.
Samuel Martin Hay, III