To make a decision on SPLOST, I felt it was my duty to become more informed on the business conducted in the courthouse. I arranged for a tour. What I found was appalling. I kept thinking, if government were run like a business, my first order as owner of this business would be to tear the place down and get my people in a facility where we can operate efficiently.
As I exited the rear of the courthouse, I had to stand off to the side as the sheriff’s deputies brought inmates in for their trials. I instantly recalled the events in 2005 when Brian Nichols, who was on trial for rape, killed four unsuspecting people who were just trying to do their job. At the rear of the courthouse you have a main entry that employees enter through, judges enter from and unsuspecting people think is a main entry from the parking lot. County residents would be rightfully outraged if an inmate escaped and brought the same terror to us that Brian Nichols did during his killing spree.
As a construction professional, one who has absolutely no interest in being involved with public projects, I can attest to the wasted dollars that would go into expanding the current courthouse. The additional square footage we need would dwarf the existing structure and create a most unsightly building in the center of the city. The option of adding on would be an attempt by the county to “put lip stick on a pig.” The courthouse has obviously already gone through this process on several occasions, and it shows when you take a tour.
My last lesson of the day was the most astonishing of all, I learned that no other organization or individual has made an effort to tour the courthouse or has made specific inquiries to the Clerk of Court regarding needs of the future court house or jail. I look forward to the continued debate on this issue; I can only pray that I debate it with those who are informed with facts.
John S. Derucki