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It’s the Nickels and Dimes that will get you

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 8:00
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Around 40 years ago a business mentor used to say to me “ the dollars will take care of themselves, but the nickels and dimes will get you”.  In his wisdom he was teaching me to pay attention to the small expenditures, the ones that on the surface don’t seem to be a lot of money but collectively erode profit margins and bloat expenses.  Perhaps a bit of background is in order.

Some months back a project to enhance security at the Circuit Court Clerk office here in King William was floated. The story being circulated was that they had a customer that grew agitated and belligerent , so for the safety of the 3 people who work in this office, plexi-glass and a reinforced door would be installed to enhance security. I have questioned the County Sheriff Jeff Walton on this incident, was this customer who acted out arrested or charged with any criminal offense ? Sheriff Walton has told me he knows nothing about this at all. What happens if someone acts out in the Commissioner of Revenues office, or the Treasurer’s office, Parks n Rec office, Planning departments office——-do we start throwing up plexi-glass and fortified doors in each of these offices ?

Now the problem is that in this very building at the front entrance every minute that it is open is an armed K.W Sheriff’s deputy within 80 feet of the door to the Clerk’s office, just down the hallway.  Next door in the Courtroom whenever court is in session is another armed Sheriff’s deputy. The K.W Sheriff’s department is housed in the back of this same building. This building is already a literal Fort Knox.The proposed security enhancement was reported to cost around $20,000 only within a month to bloat to a new estimate of $ 28,000, a 40% increase. I have visited the office a number of times and this whole thing is ridiculous, given the armed law enforcement already on the premises.

When I asked a member of the Board of Supervisors who on the Board had voted for this I learned that the Board never had voted to approve this particular expenditure, the Interim County Administrator had approved this and that it was within his authority to do so. One Board member also works part time on the Courthouse Security Detail ( a career law enforcement officer himself) . It appears this particular Supervisor for whatever reason was the only member of the Board to be pushing for this project getting done.

So here is a textbook example of what that business mentor was warning me about , the “ nickels & dimes”, tax dollars being wasted on a project that wasn’t necessary to begin with, and the most you get from any local government officials is a YAWN, if you question this expenditure.

Folks, this is how we are as a nation going broke. This is how in a county with a declining population budgets each and every year keep getting bigger and bigger. A County Administrator should not have this level of spending authority. This administrator was never elected by anyone, and this blatant waste goes on daily in every local government. It is time to revisit the Virginia Procurement Act and amend it in such a manner to stop this. Otherwise we keep bleeding, very slowly the dollars we pay in taxes to local government on wasteful expenditures like this example.

Bob Shannon  King William

Article written by: Bob Shannon

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