Sunday, July 24, 2011

Revolutionary Forces Beaten Back

With apologies to the Beatles and all their fans...
You say you want a revolution
Well you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it's evolution
Well you know
We all want to change the world
But when you talk about destruction
Don't you know you can count me out
This was the message sent by the citizens of Frederick County, MD and apparently received by their local Board of County Commissioners. While some of the uproar is sure to have come from "self-serving county employees" for whom privatization meant loss of pay and benefits if not a job, there were broader concerns about how the BoCC was conducting business.
You say you got a real solution
Well you know
We'd all love to see the plan
You ask me for a contribution
Well you know
We're all doing what we can
But if you want money for people with minds that hate
All I can tell you is brother you have to wait
As it should be in all government contracted services, transparency was a real issue. From the beginning the BoCC not only conducted much of their business in a way that came under criticism on this point, but they neglected to address transparency concerns when their revolutionary new outsourcing plan took effect.
You say you'll change the constitution
Well you know
We all want to change your head
You tell me it's the institution
Well you know
You better free your mind instead
But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao
You ain't going to make it with anyone anyhow
The situation started as an "electoral mandate", not unlike any election in the U.S., especially when an incumbent loses. It also created a single-party BoCC led by a recently elected Chairman who became the public face of local government outsourcing.
Don't you know it's gonna be alright
At the end of it all, reason overcame revolution. A hastily prepared report was reviewed by the University of Maryland after which this report was given the disposition it merited based upon that review. A consensus was reached to "make haste slowly" putting Frederick County on a path of optimizing services and reducing cost structure while retaining transparency and accountability. This approach to addressing the misalignment between public and private payroll and benefit structures is much more like what Atlanta is doing and Dunwoody has done than what Sandy Springs did.

It bears watching.