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Missed opportunity
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The Newton County Board of Commissioners had a great opportunity last week to show the taxpayers — the commissioners’ bosses — that a fresh board with new perspective was not going to conduct business as usual. Sadly, it failed to do so.

During their recent meeting, commissioners voted to renew the contracts for recycling service and lawn maintenance five more years without placing the services out for public bid. The vote was split 3-2 with commissioners Lanier Sims and Nancy Schulz voting against the renewals.

These two companies have a good reputation and may very well have the lowest prices in the market, but how do we know if we don’t ask? We, as taxpayers, were not even given the opportunity to find that out, as commissioners John Douglas, Levie Maddox and J.C. Henderson voted to continue business as usual.

For years, Commissioner J.C. Henderson often voted alongside his two staunchly conservative colleagues, in a relationship that seemed to make for strange bedfellows, while at the same time occasionally siding with his fellow Democratic commissioners.

Normally, we’d credit someone for being flexible and willing to compromise in a time when the political arena is getting ever more divided and insular. However, we’re concerned that Henderson is continuing to play the pivotal role of swing vote on the board and will be willing and able to cast that vote in whichever direction is most advantageous for his personal gain.

If the rest of the board is going to continue to be split 2-2 on issues, then they’re putting a lot of power in the hands of Henderson.

Newton County residents have had to put up with this type of leadership for the past eight years. We don’t need or deserve it for the next four years. Let’s see some real compromise and commissioners actual working together. That sight would be a nice change.