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Whitley County Commissioners weigh in on the Kernan-Shepard Report, how it may impact this county

February 9, 2009

To the Citizens of Whitley County:

Much has been reported concerning the Kernan-Shepard report and how it will affect our county. We believe it is our responsibility to keep the citizens of Whitley County informed as to the impact on our county. Currently the county is looking at ways to contain expenses.

First, we want to make it clear that if the implementation of the Kernan-Shepard Report will make county government better for all citizens and save our county money, we will support their recommendations. We have studied the report, talked with the Governor, Legislators, and other County Commissioners and Councilmen. At this time, we cannot see any financial savings to the county (actually will cost more) or that it will improve services provided by the county to our citizens.

We do not support a single person elected county executive. This will actually cost the county twice as much financially as what we currently pay three commissioners. Kernan-Shepard Report states that the County Executive would appoint the Treasurer, Recorder, Assessor, Surveyor and Coroner. We do not believe the County Executive should be allowed to appoint these positions. Those people are responsible to the voters of Whitley County and should be elected by the voters.

Township Trustees provide a valuable and economical service to our citizens locally. They are the contact point for citizens in their township who have questions, problems or need assistance. They deal with issues one on one with those people to get issues resolved in a timely manner and as efficiently as possible whether it be day, night or on the weekends.

If the County is forced to assume the duties of township government such as assessment, poor relief, fire protection, emergency medical services and cemeteries, additional county staffing would be necessary due to the fact that there is currently no one in the current county employee structure that could assume these duties. The current county budget does not allow for additional hiring.

Counties have not been given any direction as to how the recommendations will be implemented. It appears that the state is getting “the cart before the horse” in the implementation of these recommendations and that little thought process has been put into the end results of these changes. We feel County Government should have an input into this report as it affects a personnel increase and necessary financial increases.

We will continue to follow the progress of the Kernan-Shepard report as it makes its way through the State Legislation.

The “powers” in Indianapolis should read Morton Marcus’s article in this week’s Business Weekly wherein he states, “the current drive to reform government should not start with local government but with state government. The best place to begin is with the circus that does not entertain-the Indiana General Assembly.”

In the meantime if you would like an abbreviated copy of the Kernan-Shepard Report, you may pick up a copy at the Government Center, 220 W. Van Buren Street, Suite 101.

We urge you to become informed regarding these proposed changes which will ultimately affect you. Contact your Township Trustee, County Councilmen, Commissioners and Legislators with questions and comments.

Sincerely,

Whitley County Commissioners

Don Amber, Mike Schrader & Tom Rethlake

 

 

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