My Turn: Steering committee could guide office plan
By Craig Pierce
In response to the Sept. 15 “My Turn” article by Mike Caskey, I would like to express my thanks for a fresh approach to an old problem. My concern is whether the School Board and county commissioners will have the time and willingness to reach an agreement on the construction of a new central office.
This concern comes from the statements that both School Board members and county commissioners made during the last election campaign. I was present during both forums in which the last four School Board members who were placed on the board all said that they would not vote to build a new central office, yet here we are with the board voting 6-1 to do just that. I was present during the commissioners forum in which all the candidates promised to work with the School Board, and yet here we have them going head to head over the central office debate. I see no compromise from either side on this issue.
I would suggest that the commissioners form a steering committee, comprised of taxpayers from all the school districts, that could intercede on the behalf of both boards. This committee should be void of any state or county employees, have no ties to the municipalities or any other taxpayer-funded jobs. This would allow for an unbiased group that could look at all options from both sides and be able to reach the best option for the School Board, Board of Commissioners and the taxpayers of Rowan County. Once an agreement had been reached by all parties involved, then the proposal should be sent to the county manager and finance director for their input. Then, and only then, should this proposal be sent to the county commissioners for a vote on this issue.
During the process of selecting the steering committee, the analysis needs of the boards, providing these findings to the county manager and the finance director and, finally, to the county commissioners, all pending proposals concerning the central office should be tabled. Until we have a proposal that represents the best options for all involved, mainly the taxpayer, no further efforts should be considered. We sometimes forget that all funding for all capital improvements comes from only one source, taxes. We elect our officials to look after our tax dollars and to spend them wisely. If our officials need our input to help make their decisions, then it is our duty as citizens to help them with this process. If they refuse our help and concerns, then maybe there is something more that they are trying to accomplish.
This is my suggestion to a continuing problem. Thanks to all who have offered other suggestions and alternatives to resolve this ongoing need.
Craig Pierce serves on the Rowan County Planning Board, is chairman of the Airport Advisory Board and was a candidate for the Board of Education in 2010.
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