Until a few weeks ago, I didn't even realize there was an important referendum on our ballot in November. We are voting on some drastic changes to county government. The short sound bites make it sound great but, digging deeper, it didn't take long to realize the answer is “no.”
The people who support the idea keep talking about how the County Council will increase from seven seats to nine seats. That's true. But there's something sneaky going on there. Now we get to vote for four of those people – the person who represents our own district and the three at-large members. Under the proposed change to a single county executive system you would vote for only one out of nine. Plus, you won't be voting for three county commissioners anymore but one person who will control our county.
The implementation of a single executive removes transparency; the three current commissioners hold a public meeting every Friday. A single executive would have carte blanche in decision-making, and we would have no forum to express opposition because the decision would be made and moving forward by the time it was made public.
A single exec, as opposed to three, handling day-to-day operations also makes it easier to grease palms and corrupt the government. Furthermore, there are a few questions to which no one has answers. For example, no one knows how the districts will be drawn.
The current legislation leaves too many specifics undefined or it's at the whim of the single executive.