Dear Editor: That may be a bit of a stretch; however, Chairman Oden's ambition to win awards for awards' sake seems to be in his blood. The latest "go for the gold" comes from Chairman Oden spending more of our taxpayer dollars on a nondescript award that no longer means anything of real value. The award is the Malcolm Baldridge Award, which is instituted by a branch of the Department of Commerce.
Originally the purpose and participants of this award were businesses looking for some way to leverage their market share, and during the 80s, a company that received this award for quality was almost guaranteed an uptick on their stock market options. Since then, the program began to include non-profits and insurance companies. The program now includes governmental agencies which, in my opinion, was done since it no longer made sense for commercial enterprises to apply.
After talking with one of the staff members in Washington, D.C., it was mentioned that they (Baldridge National Foundation) were suggesting to participants that business and industry might consider a government's award status as a breakpoint in whether to bring the business to that area. She also admitted that this was only the proposed justification that a government entity could use if the funds needed would need to have board or group approval.
What does this mean to the taxpaying Rockdale citizen? About $80,000 a year which includes the $40k charge for the minimum on-site visit to review process and quality improvement and the employee hours involved to meet and discuss the program and work on improvements from their own areas of responsibility. The six teams range in Customer Focus to Leadership to Strategic Planning. Too bad they didn't include one for common sense or fiscal responsibility. The only government agency known to date is the city of Coral Spring, Fla., and it took them seven years to attain the award. That would mean that Rockdale County could spend a half million dollars for our government to put something on the trophy shelf to collect dust. Maybe a couple of us could pitch in and buy a trophy and give it to Chairman Oden as a Fiscal Irresponsibility award if he continues down this path. One thing is for certain: Our new slogan takes on a whole new meaning when you link the words "Rockdale Taxpayers" with "Perfectly Positioned."