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Letter to the editor
Politician ignores advice of staff experts
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Forsyth County News

 

After watching the board of commissioners meeting on 12/16 I was struck by the duality of one of the commissioners. A large part of the beginning of the meeting was dedicated to honoring the two outgoing commissioners. Speeches were made complimenting the professionalism and dedication of the various Forsyth County staff members that actually make our government work.

Later in the meeting, during a public hearing on a rezoning request for an eco-industrial park, opponents of the rezoning cited the bypassing of these same dedicated staff and departments as the reason for their concern.  One speaker even mentioned her respect for the county staff and their thoroughness.  Even though the re-zoning is to benefit a specific land owner, Commissioner Bell has pushed the rezoning as a county sponsored initiative minimizing normal safeguards that would regulate what industry is allowed on the property.

And then came the animal shelter: After a vote approving the construction of Forsyth County’s first animal shelter, Commissioner Bell vowed to rescind the decision at the first BOC meeting in January. Commissioner Bell has said many times that he does not believe a county shelter is the responsibility of government. He went so far as to suggest in a work session that when it comes to homeless pets, we should just put them all to sleep.  Now he claims that we do not have enough information to move forward.

In 2009, the BOC asked the staff of Forsyth County to gather information on building and operating an animal shelter.
Commissioners Tam and Bell then spent the next year making sure the board never reviewed their findings until this week. It’s disingenuous to spend a year making sure you never heard the information needed, and then claim you don’t have the information.

Commissioner Bell also cites a business plan from another county that reviewed their need for an animal shelter. He believes Forsyth needs to emulate this county. What he neglects to mention is that the county is Lincoln County, population 7,900. And that the information in their business plan is not as detailed as what has been gathered by his staff. Of course his favoritism to this plan may be that Lincoln County decided a new shelter was unwarranted for their small community.

I hope that the two new incoming commissioners will take the time to review the information gathered by the staff before making any decisions. I believe they will find, as their predecessors have, that the employees of Forsyth County are dedicated and competent professionals.

Bill Mulrooney

Gainesville