The State of the County

Given my commitment to the proposition that “to stand silent in the face of abuse is to be complicit” I find it necessary to comment in writing on the “State of the County” power point presentation by Glynn County Manager, Alan Ours, on October 4th, 2018. As is typical of Board of Commissioner meetings, there was no opportunity for members of the public to respond. And, as is also typical of the Board of Commissioners, they found no reason to discuss or comment on the Manager’s self-initiated review of his administration’s performance.

As a member of the public and frequent attendee at meetings open to the public, I must admit to having considered the whole strategic plan and mission statement, as they were foisted on various community organizations to be a waste of time and abusive. How does a contract employee come to presume to set policies for the community and their elected representatives?

The power point presentation, beginning with the assertion that progress had been made “on the Strategic Plan,” rather than according to a plan is indicative of the grammatical, logical and perceptual problems that dog much of what the Glynn County Administration disseminates to the public.

After, as I said, listening to the presentation in person and then reviewing each slide, I have tried to identify specific problems, with no success. How does one respond to faulty perceptions which conclude that collecting guns and drugs makes the community safe, even as people are being shot and killed by police? How does one counter the practice of taking the intent for the act? How does 14% of employees finding it necessary to file for workmen’s compensation mesh with providing a safe working environment and valuing employees highly?

Some of the Key Performance Indicators are downright silly:
Collecting 56.3 tons of road side litter is not a sign of a “great place to live.” It is a sign of trashy people in our midst.
Over 86,000 calls for police service are reasons for concern, as is the five-fold increase in police patrols.
One employee for every one thousand residents says nothing about performance at all.

Before I reviewed the power point presentation, I had drawn up a list of perhaps a dozen deficits in the Administration of Glynn County on behalf of its citizens. Foremost, perhaps, is the failure to recognize that the citizens govern and are entitled to be informed about what is being done in their name. Therefore, the tardy publication of meeting minutes (over a month late), incomplete records of actions taken and citizen input, the failure to publish agendas for citizen boards and committees, and the failure to report on actions taken in response to complaints are particularly concerning. Doubly concerning because the software programs to handle all these tasks have actually been installed. They just don’t get used.(Absence of use is also a form of abuse.)

The failure to make full use of Information Technology assets is perhaps most obvious in the haphazard maintenance of the Official Glynn County Calendar from which major entities such as the Brunswick and Glynn Joint Water and Sewer Commission, the Golden Isles Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Marshes of Glynn Library Board of Trustees, the Brunswick and Glynn Economic Development Agency and the Airport Authority are all excluded. Others, such as the County Tree Advisory Board, the Zoning Board of Appeals, the SPLOST Review Committee, the Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Animal Control Advisory Board have no published agendas or, apparently, no recorded minutes.

It isn’t just the communications software that is underutilized. There does not seem to have been any cross-training on the Government Information System, the mapping program, nor the property records data base. As a result, code enforcement is haphazard, the police seem ignorant of what information even exists and the address verification program is still incomplete. That, of course, is a recipe for police going to the wrong house. None of it adds up to “A good place to live.”

How does one describe a broken feed-back loop when one does not even exist? What is one to expect of ordinance revisions by outside contractors without any local people being involved? The same thing we got from a comprehensive plan revision that has no relevance to anything on the ground. All intent; no function.

The State of Glynn County is a mess.