Einstein’s Monster

The Fairfield County Council is certainly consistent in its annual validation of Albert Einstein’s’ famous definition of insanity. We, again, are burdened with yet another county government budget which is long on bloat and short on service improvement. The 2015-2016 budget is obviously designed to protect our top 7 S.C. Association of Counties rankings including categories like highest millage rate, largest number of government employees per capita, highest spending per capita and largest percent of population decrease. The budget, however, is not designed to improve services via a more efficient government.

Incredibly Fairfield County has the state’s highest (by a wide margin) ratio of full time employees per capita. Even more incredibly, Fairfield service rankings (latest citizen rankings and independent third party rankings) are well below what the public deserves.

Fortunately, the internet is abounding with studies which will serve Council in restructuring our archaic government organization. Additionally, there are many productive counties which we can emulate. Before a reorganization is implemented, however, we must enact a government hiring freeze and let normal attrition get our government to the staffing levels that will manifest improved service levels.

Additionally, real performance measurement at all levels of government will improve transparency, accountability, employee fulfillment and, thus, service delivery. There are many good performance measurement studies to help bring our government at least into the 20th century. There are, also, many performance-measuring counties we can learn from. Performance measurements will enable the county to motivate and fairly reward employee performance. Service improvement will surely follow. On the other hand, the proposed arbitrary across the aboard raises will only lower the bar, foster mediocrity and promote government bloat and low productivity.

All Fairfield citizens suffer from our government’s inefficiency, but it is the most vulnerable who suffer the most in Fairfield. Fairfield’s poor, elderly and infirm are typically taxed at a much higher percent of their income than those who are blessed to be in the highest income bracket. This unconscionable “rob the poor” reality is driven by Fairfield’s exceedingly high tax rates which are continually raised to perpetuate a hungry and ineffective government. Further, guess who is limited the most by the overall economic drag of our high taxing and low producing government? Again, it is those who have the least who are negatively impacted the most. The vulnerable also suffer the most from wanting services due to a bloated government which is not able to deliver value commensurate with its spending.

Yes, Einstein’s “Insanity” definition deftly describes Fairfield’s continuation of its “War on The Poor” and on everyone else.

We can start to end this war today. Councilmen Stewart, Smith and Ruff seem to understand the maddening perils of an inefficient government run amuck. Let’s help the rest of Council understand we need to quickly move towards a more effective government model which will productively utilize our riches. The Citizens of Fairfield deserve it.

 

Randy Bright

Ridgeway