In a county saddled with deficits with elected officials as clueless about financial planning as they have been reckless and irresponsible with their vote on the relocation of the visitor center, it is not surprising to find out that fiscal responsibility was also lacking at other levels.
During the March 2019 budget discussions, we incidentally learned that the Sheriff’s Office had not used the Greene County maintenance facility for the maintenance/servicing of its vehicles and was spending $70,000 per year for doing so in the private sector. This raises a number of questions on both the lack of governance of the board (why did it take that long to find this out—good financial management always includes monitoring spending—and tell the sheriff to use the tax-payer funded county facility?) and the lack of financial stewardship from Sheriff Steve Smith.
It is indeed impossible to imagine that a Greene County native and lifelong resident did not know that there was such a facility, less than 2 miles from his office, for the servicing of all county vehicles. Likewise, it is hard to fathom a reason Sheriff Smith could have for not even asking. There is none. The end result is that taxpayers contributed to an under-used facility while the sheriff has wasted nearly $500,000 of taxpayer’s money over the last seven years of his term, which could have been budgeted for other pressing needs within the Sheriff’s Office.
Not so long ago, Sheriff Smith filed a lawsuit, also paid by taxpayers, against the Board of Supervisors regarding the control of the E911 operations manager’s position. Can’t our elected officials call each other, meet or email to exchange their points of views instead of filing lawsuits? Wouldn’t that be another aspect of fiscal responsibility?
Everybody can always concoct some excuses or come up with half-baked explanations, but the facts remain. True leadership is now needed at all levels with leaders who know how to prioritize the “needs” of the county along with fiscal responsibility in any action taken on behalf of the citizens of Greene.