Will someone please help me understand the rhetoric of Columbia County Commission Chairman Ron Cross and the board of commissioners (BOC)? Some local media clips report:
Metro Spirit, Nov. 4, 2009: "In the last 18 months, the county has saved over $1.1 million by eliminating more than 30 county positions through attrition and consolidation, and, according to a report issued by Deputy Administrator Scott Johnson, additional positions are being considered for elimination on Nov. 10."
In Cross' monthly taxpayer-funded campaign announcement included in our water bills, this one from December 2009, the man seeking re-election wrote (with the hopes and expectations that we know no better), boasting Columbia County's AA bond rating, "We have accomplished this by not filling over 40 vacated full-time positions and cutting the payroll over a million dollars."
The Augusta Chronicle, Dec. 23, 2009: "Numerous positions already have been eliminated since the 2008-09 fiscal year, including three in the Columbia County library." It goes on to list the 10 positions totaling $644,894 annually that have been eliminated since 2008. Right below this, it lists the 19 positions totaling $745,171 annually that have been added, for an increase of nine positions costing taxpayers and additional $100,277 annually. So how is this an "elimination"?
Metro Spirit, Dec. 30, 2009: "In fiscal year 2008-09, the BOC added three positions totaling just under $134,000 while eliminating three positions totaling $303,000, saving $169,000. ... So far this budget year, the BOC has already eliminated seven positions, saving $341,000."
The Columbia County News-Times, Jan. 3, 2010: "During the past two years, the county's $56.5 million budget was trimmed by more than $500,000 by eliminating 10 positions."
Huh? Who gets these numbers, and from where? No published numbers match or even come close to matching, which is probably Cross' intent since he presided over and orchestrated the most gargantuan spending spree (most of it irresponsible) in Columbia County history, and now he is trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the voters so as to not be thrashed at the polls in July. We know better, and will show him in the July 20 primary.
Leon McLamb, Grovetown
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