Laws exist for a reason.
Yet, increasingly these days, the Hamilton County Commission chooses to bypass a state law aimed at enhancing transparency and accountability in local government. In essence, this law prohibits the practice of sneaking resolutions onto the County Commission agenda at the last possible moment—a purely political tactic employed to pass self-serving resolutions and avoid public scrutiny.
Last Wednesday, the Commission went through seven pages of agenda items and was preparing to adjourn. Then, at the last possible moment and without notice, a resolution was introduced to strip funding from two nonprofit organizations who work to strengthen the black community in Hamilton County. The sizable sum, totaling over a million dollars, previously committed to these organizations, was swiftly redirected to other projects. What remains unclear is who instigated this abrupt change and why it was executed in such an underhanded manner.
The funds were redirected towards crucial capital projects at two high schools, Howard and Brainerd. These projects undeniably deserve strong public support and have been long overdue. What is perplexing about this change is that none of the affected organizations, schools, parents, coaches, or their respective commissioners were informed of this resolution until the very last moments before the vote was to be held.
Again, I'm not against these projects. In fact, the allocated funds probably don't cover the full cost of what's needed. However, the hasty move to redirect money that was already assigned in compliance with state and local laws raises serious concerns.
The truth is that Commissioners were given only a few seconds to consider a change that violates the spirit of state law and reallocates over $1 million in taxpayer dollars without prior public notice. The fact that the organizations most impacted by this reallocation of funds were not informed further underscores the bad faith intentions behind this last-minute change.
Considering the unconscionable circumstances, I chose not to vote. This type of political skulduggery and manipulation is precisely why people have a hard time trusting county government (and who can blame them). The bottom line is that we must put an end to this practice--the people of Hamilton County deserve better.