Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Who's In Control of Livingston County Commission?

Sloppy management is in evidence again with the Livingston County Board of Commissioners.

The latest incident involves the dispute over paying half of the $11,000 for an administrator to attend a management course at Harvard University. Last April, the commissioners thought the employee was paying for it, but this summer she submitted a bill for half, the commission agreed to pay it despite complaints from three commissiones, and then the employee withdrew the request for reimbursement. Did something happen after April that the public doesn't know about? Why the change of heart?

Earlier this summer, another former county employee was arrested for allegedly taking funds from the county for health care benefits that weren't owed her. She had convinced the county commission to get rid of a third party that handled the benefit payouts and put her in charge. With no oversight, the allegations say, she was able to submit phony requests for reimbursement for herself and the county paid them. So who was in charge of that fiasco?

It's becoming increasingly obvious they don't have their act together.


Allan said...

So, is accusing Livingston County parents of being bigots an example of "having your act together?" That, along with your sophomoric post about college football, shows some real immaturity in the LCDP. I have never taken these blogs seriously, but the accusation against Livingston County parents goes way beyond politics. You owe the community an apology.

kevins said...

If not an apology, then at least a sense of perspective.

A lot of state and federal money is funneled to Detroit where, under the watchful eyes (and grabbing hands) of Democrats, it is stolen and wasted.

Kwame used tax dollars to screw his chief aide and then used tax dollars to cover it up. Hundreds of phantom Detroit school employees were getting paid for years. Millions of millions of dollars were wasted in the police department and the woman hired to oversee it had a personal relationship with Kwame.

Is this the type of oversight that Judy wants for Livingston County? Or is all Detroit's corruption forgiven because, after all, they are Democrats and therefore can't be criticized.

If the benefits claim is true, you seem to overlook the fact that the county discovered it on their own. As for the training incident, it was awkward and poorly handled, but in the end the taxpayers did not end up holding the bill.

The same can't be said for Detroit's excessive waste and corruption. Livingston County can't waste in a year what Detroit steals and wastes in a day.

Jordan G said...

Both parties have corruption, and neither party is in favor of corruption. The point is to keep the public informed of any and all corruption, regardless of party.

The Detroit scandals got plenty of coverage, and there are probably many that were overlooked. I don't know anyone though who would dare defend Kwame. The Detroit Democrats' problems are in no way forgiven.

The problem though is that corruption is most easy to hide when the region is one-party rule. Ideally, the party would keep itself in check, but sadly, that is not always the case. So the other party has to be extra vigilant in shedding light on any questionable activity.

That's what the LCDP has to do in Livingston. The Republicans are the party in power, and they aren't the most forthcoming with self-criticism. So it's up to us to keep the public abreast of any shady dealings that occur.

I don't see how Detroit's problems would be our jurisdiction, any more than Chicago's problems or New Orleans'. What is our concern is our county, and that is where we are the watchdog.

kevins said...

Well I'm not sure if you were the "watchdog" on this. I believe this was first made public in the newspaper and I believe the person who made it an issue was a Republican county commissioner.

I totally agree with your point...corruption is not a unique characteristic of either party. I just tire of Judy saying "all" Republicans are like Joe Wilson, or that the problems at the county are somehow Republican characteristics. (They can't be wasting too much money, as Judy is constantly critical of the county for bragging that it has the state's lowest tax rate.)

I do believe we have a moral and financial interest in Detroit. My state and federal taxes are spent in Detroit. The success of Detroit is key to the success of the region and the state.

And, as a fact, more of my tax dollars go to support Detroit schoolchildren than to support my own kids here in Livingston County. You can look it up.

And, you know what? I have no problem with that. There are huge challenges for these kids and there are great reasons for helping them more than my kid. My anger is that the money doesn't get to them...it gets siphoned off by people whose greed, sloth and law-breaking cause more harm to black Detroit kids than do all the real and imagined racists in Livingston County history.

One example: How in the world could 250 phantom employees be on the Detroit schools payroll unless a lot of people knew about it and were involved? They all ignored it. It must have been a well-know secret because Dodds went after it right away. He (and countless others) must have known of the practice and quickly went after low-hanging fruit. Good for him. At least he did something about it. But the reaction from the Detroit school board was to sue him and try to get him removed from his position.

Jordan, you may say that no one is defending Kwame and other crooks, but that's not what I see. I think you will wait a very long time for Judy, guru or other Dems here to acknowledge the corruption problem in Detroit. Heck, Guru even praises the condition of Detroit.

Again, I do not believe such corruption is baked into the DNA of either party. But I'm frustrated that local Dems will throw stones at perceived minor flaws as proof of party superiority and ignore major issues. It's like arresting people for jaywalking and ignoring murders.

Question: How much taxpayer money was lost in the two "scandals" cited by Judy? The supposed embezzlement was discovered. The Harvard payment was never made.

Can you say the same thing for the Detroit scandals?

Jordan G said...

I have no idea how large of a problem these "scandals" are, which is the point. We as Livingston County residents aren't going to know about them unless there are local media that inform us, and that is all this blog post was trying to do. It's not deep-cover investigation, as the LCDP does not have the means for such an approach, but it is one more voice trying to reach out to the public. The more little voices there are, the more likely someone with additional resources will come along and take the ball, possibly uncovering much more (or not).

Could we use this blog to cover the problems Detroit has? Well yeah, if we wanted. But I don't believe those stories are lacking in coverage, and I wouldn't expect Judy to spend her time simply restating something that could be found in a thousand other places. This blog is to spread the word about stories that can be found in only a handful of other outlets, while staying locally oriented.

You're complaining that we're going after the small stories, when there are bigger fish to fry. I dispute the basis for that claim, since I think the small stories are the ones most important to shed light on.