Hooray for the Board of Supervisors…
Fingers shook and shots were taken at fellow Board members and even the media. (probably me). The topic causing the stir at last Tuesday’s Board meeting was the County getting out of the CHAA (Certified Home Health Agency) business. (see story on page 6).
The subject of cutting the County CHAA has been on the table and debated for years. Those wishing to save the local government CHAA cite all kinds of quasi-bogus e-mails, innuendo and questionable statistics. In the end, sane minds held firm as eight supervisors voted in the affirmative to proceed to sell any and all customer lists to a private company.
I find it interesting that the vote, except for a few brave souls, went along geographical lines, east vs. west. It makes sense though, most of the county workers live in the eastern towns and they and the union put pressure on several supervisors in an attempt to keep the status quo.
Over the past year, the Board of Supervisors has dug in the heals and shed, or began the process to shed, services that could be handled by private companies.
One of the tricks utilized (my guess is by the union) in the latest CHHA vote was the use of mass, computerized phone calls to residential homes in select towns. The calls were made on the Monday before last Tuesday’s vote by the Board. It urged residents to call their town supervisor, even adding his/her name to the automated call and telling them to cast their vote to save the County CHHA. Got to love those union folks. By all reports, it only annoyed residents and supervisors alike.
I do understand why several supervisors felt the pressure to vote to keep the CHHA and earlier this year, the County funded curbside recycling. That too, was pretty much a geographical divide.
The problem is that government costs too much and we have come to expect more and more services, that very often could fall under the auspices of private business.
It was brought up several years ago when the new County Nursing Home building was on the drawing table that, at best, the home would only serve about 1% of the County population, but would require all taxpayers to contribute to its existence. Meanwhile, private concerns were providing similar services without county tax support.
The same was true for the County CHHA. Only a miniscule percentage would reap benefits, but all would have the support burden that would result if we kept the program going as is. That, folks, is a prime example of a County mandate.
I am not suggesting we abandon anyone in society who suffers a malady, but all avenues of family and private services must be addressed first. The same goes for transportation services, and special needs.
The County will face some hard hurdles in the future when it comes to union negotiations. The old rule of thumb is broken. We can no longer subsidize huge benefit packages, that those in the private sector could only dream about.
I would start with the old idea that retirement pay be based upon the last three years of civil service. I suggest the government entity and unions get used to the idea of basing their retirement on the last ten year average. Also, the idea that some can retire after 20-25 years becomes a far distant thought now that we are living longer.
Oh, yeah, I am also in favor of raising the social security retirement age to 68-70.