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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:   County spending

To the editor:

You may have read some newspaper articles and editorials regarding county spending recently. You may have even attended a county commission meeting and asked questions about them. And, if so, good for you!

Many folks around here recognize that sometimes the content of the papers get a little juicier in the summer months.

Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily. Perhaps it makes us think more. Perhaps it prompts us to question more. Perhaps it urges us to get a little more involved.

To that end I say hurray! Is it uncomfortable? Sometimes. Is it accurate? Well, maybe.

I was asked a direct question yesterday in the commission meeting by a citizen as to whether what he read in the paper was accurate.

My response was that yes, some of it was entirely accurate, and some of it may not be completely accurate.

The reason for my statement was simply this: It is difficult to achieve complete accuracy and paint a true picture without context. If you don’t have the background information, the picture can take on a totally different appearance. I was able to offer clarification on a couple of the questions the gentleman had.

But the point is citizen engagement. And I get it. And I applaud it. As citizens of our communities, counties, region, state, country and ultimately of the entire globe, we should not be content to blindly trust. We should make the effort to gain knowledge, to be involved, to offer insight and join the conversation.

My comment was in no way directing anyone to disregard any reporting or to disbelieve what they read in print. It was simply urging them to ask questions.

Look at the information. Learn the rest of the picture. I would say that to any citizen of Marion County.

If there is something that you are wondering about, please ask the question. The bills paid by the county are an open record (including the $33,387.41 we spent in 2016 with Hoch Publishing).

If you have any questions or would like to understand the information behind the headlines, contact our office. I would be happy to make an appointment and go through the information with any of you. If I don’t know the answer, I will try to get you to someone who does.

Lately it seems like many of us serving our citizens at the county level are being painted with a broad brush of disregard for the citizens we serve.

We are painted as incompetent, self-serving individuals wildly spending tax dollars for personal gain. Perhaps that picture helps sell newspapers. Perhaps it makes people think.

The true picture is this: Most of the people serving at the county level have a deep respect for our citizens, recognize the importance of stewardship, are qualified for the positions we hold, and care about our work.

We do come to work each day putting forth our best effort and stretching ourselves when necessary to accomplish the daily work of keeping things running.

Are there policies and procedures that need to be reviewed? YOU BET! These conversations are held often. Many issues are dealt with each and every day, on your behalf by dedicated individuals who do have the best interest of Marion County at heart.

There is certainly more work that needs to be accomplished. There is always room for improvement. We are not perfect, and sometimes we do make mistakes. That is the beauty of humanity.

I encourage each of you to strive to seek knowledge, avoid quick judgment of others, and be kind as you move through this life. Be involved. Speak out when necessary. Stand up for those who need it. Read. Volunteer. Serve. And VOTE!!

Tina Spencer
Marion County Clerk

Last modified July 12, 2017

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