Sampson County Commissioner Jarvis McLamb voted for a 4.5 cent tax hike. No wait, he did, but less than eight hours later he said he didn’t understand what he was voting for. A second vote for a budget ordinance reflecting that tax hike was called for, and this time McLamb cast a dissenting vote.
Fellow commissioner Harry Parker voted against a 4.5 cent tax hike. No wait, he did, but less than eight hours later he turned around and voted for a budget ordinance reflecting that hike. Wait a second longer. Parker then said he didn’t understand what he was voting for and made a motion to reconsider the vote. With 3-2 passage of that motion, the budget ordinance was revisited, this time being shot down 3-2.
Adding to the scene were the shocked, angry and disgusted faces of our three other commissioners, Jefferson Strickland, Albert Kirby and Billy Lockamy.
What reads and — if you were unlucky enough to be present at the meeting — looks like a comedic skit is unfortunately the reality of Wednesday’s back-to-back county commissioners meetings where for the second time in a month an interim budget has been adopted allowing government, and thus services, to barely limp along while its leaders wrangle over a spending plan.
Embarrassing? Absolutely. Absurd? Unbelievably so. Unnecessary? Completely.
The finger-pointing started before the dust settled Wednesday night, with individual camps looking to fault the other for this messy fiasco. But the truth is, there’s plenty of blame to spread around the table of five men who obviously cannot work together for the good of this county. But placing blame is an exercise in futility, a lesson these gentlemen need to take to heart before Monday’s likely continuation of a debacle that must end.
Residents are tired of the shenanigans. County employees are forlorn and department heads, who worked tirelessly to make requested, and deep, cuts to their budgets for presentation Wednesday, have to be beyond exasperated, particularly given that all their hard work wasn’t even reviewed.
Let’s face it, what is happening in Sampson government is humiliating. And this hard-working, supportive and progressive citizenry deserves so much more.
It’s baffling that commissioners cannot see what they are doing and how detrimental this lack of action, this comedy of errors they call governing, really is.
Gentlemen we implore you to find a way to get along, look at this county’s needs and make a real decision that doesn’t send this county spiraling back into another century. We aren’t imploring commissioners for our own sake; we make this plea for the sake of this great county we call Sampson.