Would you like to get involved in local politics if given the chance?
The answer easily offered is “nobody wants to get on these boards.” The existing committees or representative recommend the person currently in the position; then the county judge-executive recommends the person; fiscal court rubber stamps and recycles the existing person to be reappointed to the committee. If you want to get involved and see or feel that the county government is being run by the same people year after year, it is because the right people do not know you want to get involved.
You have to get involved and let the appropriate parties know you want to be a part of the system. Also, continue to ask what opportunities are available.
I have been vocal in the last few Fiscal Court meetings about publicizing the openings on various boards. The Water Board, Planning and Zoning, and Board of Adjustments have had positions expire or vacated, requiring the judge-executive and fiscal court to recommend filling the position.
This vacancy has either been filled by recycling the existing person without regard to offering anyone else in the county the privilege of submitting interest; or by organizing a committee to recommend someone without regard to allowing the public the opportunity to submit their name as an interested person. Therefore, you must be in the clique or know that the position is available.
Term limits is the answer to these and all political positions. Henry County’s problem, as presented, is that requesting participation on these boards is deemed unappealing, which makes filling the vacant spot hard, therefore, making the person on the current board easy to rubber stamp and allow serving for the following term.
Looking back, Magistrate John Allgeier called me to get the phone number of a neighbor who showed interest in Planning and Zoning. The neighbor, Mr. Daniels, was living in Florida so I expressed interest in the position. John allowed me the privilege to be ratified by fiscal court and I was appointed to the volunteer position. For many years, I made the meetings, voted on zoning recommendations and learned a lot about the Henry County’s zoning regulations. This privilege would not have been possible without the luck of knowing my neighbor was out of town and being in the loop of the invitation to become part of local politics.
Visit www.henrycountygov.com/minutes for August and upcoming October 2012 Henry County Fiscal Court discussion on this topic.
In District 2, I have the privilege to resubmit the existing Planning and Zoning Commissioner Danny Shain to be put on the Henry County Planning and Zoning Board to our judge-executive. I feel confident that Mr. Shain has done a great job in the past term and will continue to do a great job in the future. However, I would appreciate anyone in my district who wants to get involved in Planning and Zoning to relay to me their interest in this position. I want to have the opportunity to choose the most qualified person for District 2.
Some of the boards and taxing districts I am referring to include: Henry County Health Board, Henry County Extension, Henry County Soil Conservation, Henry County Library, Henry County Watershed and others. These boards conduct business that affects your tax dollars, direction for services, and policy for the county.
If you have any interest in serving in the Henry County government positions you must take the initiative and put your interest intentions in the right hands. Contact your magistrate, judge-executive and the appropriate board in which you would like to take part. Most times you will not know of all the opportunities available so ask your elected officials of appointments in the future. Certainly if you have any questions, contact me. I will do my best to find the correct answer to your questions.
Roger M. Hartlage
Henry County Magistrate, District 2