Saturday, May 24, 2008

Is This a Bad Idea?

Our state legislature just passed a bill that could radically change county government. To be candid, I have not investigated the proposal closely as I have only read the media reports. To read the story, click here.

The amendment that was added onto a bill in the state legislature gives Cuyahoga County commissioners the right to eliminate certain county-wide elected offices and bring them under the auspices of the commissioners. This proposal will eliminate county offices including sheriff, county auditor, recorder and treasurer and consolidate their duties under an appointed county assessor. The measure could include making the coroner, engineer, sheriff and clerk of courts appointed posts. The measure, supported by Republicans and Democrats, passed overwhelmingly in the state House of Representatives. However, it only applies to Cuyohoga county at this moment. The Democrats want to make it law statewide.

If implemented in Hamilton County, it would eliminate Sheriff Leis, Recorder Groppe, Auditor Rhodes, Clerk Hartmann, Engineer Brayshaw, and Treasurer Goering. Those responsibilities would all go to the county commissioners where they would appoint to these various posts.

Is this best for government? Do you want the County Commissioners appointing all these people? Would it have made a difference in your mind if the county commissioners were Republicans?

At first glance, this sounds like it will make county government work much like city government. If this is true, is this best?

I'm skeptical, but open to being convinced. I'm always skeptical when politicians want to consolidate power...