Even with Election Day still a day away as this is written, the question surfaces: How do we move Marion County forward from this point? Whether the jail issue on Tuesday’s ballot fails or passes, there is a bigger question that should be considered more seriously. Simply stated, is the county-commission model of administration the best model for our future? Is it time to consider a more professional model where elected officials set policy and the day-to-day machinery of government is overseen by a full-time manager equipped to understand the complicated challenges of conducting public business in today’s sophisticated world?
The management of the jail issue has been a case in point. Whether you agree or disagree with the specific project that was recommended is a separate issue from the bigger concern over the way the project was processed. The lack of independent research combined with a hurried timetable for public input was a disservice to the constituents.
This is not a criticism of the three men who currently serve as commissioners. Rather, we question a system that expects good-hearted but untrained, part-time volunteers to oversee the full-time, complicated challenges of government in today’s world. —DR