+ Abramson article hit close to home
Kurt Schultheis’ April 26 article about Jerry Abramson and “metropolitanism” seemed to describe Sarasota County government dystopia to a tee. Our system, in which five county commissioners with no real power interface with a city mayor, seems perfectly designed for inefficiency and lack of accountability. The county commissioner structure, in particular, is strange, in that essentially all county employees report either to the county administrator, the School Board or the county sheriff, over whom the five commissioners have little day-to day control, leaving them to be a sort of glorified zoning board. How can “the buck stop here,” when each commissioner has only 20 cents’ worth?
Remember the old saw, “The man who has two bosses has none?” Well, the officials of Sarasota County supposedly have five bosses and do pretty much as they please (at least until their behavior reaches the level of a publicly-known firing offense). Think county taxes are too high? Don’t ask us, say the commissioners, better talk to the sheriff or the School Board. Think some county department is inefficient or misguided? Don’t ask us, say the commissioners, better talk to the (unelected) county administrator.
I was particularly struck by the article’s note that the city/county consolidation in Louisville was strongly opposed by sitting officials but favored by former ones. Gee, how unusual that the active politicians were more interested in protecting their turf than in good representative government! So, what if Sarasota voters favor more efficient government and term limits — let’s hear it for career politicians!
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Key to the city
More than 100 community members and leaders, friends and family surprised Paul Thorpe, one of the founding members of the Downtown Association of Sarasota, April 25, at The Gator Club, to show their appreciation and celebrate the strides he’s made for Sarasota over the past four decades.