Monday, April 12, 2010

'King Harry' slams library board

Posted By on Mon, Apr 12, 2010 at 12:02 PM

In another indication that the rancor and dust have not settled between county budget cutters and their cuttees, County Manager Harry “Bonus Baby” Jones used the venue of a Ballantyne Breakfast Club community meeting Saturday to slam the library board.

Jones told the Ballantyne group that the library board should never have proposed closing half its branches after it was confronted with the need for large cuts in the library system’s budget. Jones also said the board should not have responded to the public outcry about closing libraries by telling citizens to direct their complaints to the county commission. Jones’ comments came about 10 days after Schools Superintendent Peter Gorman, while announcing that he and his top aides were forgoing bonuses, reminded everyone that his actions were “unlike other government bodies’” practices — a none-too-subtle slap at Jones, who took a $38,000 bonus after cutting county jobs and denying raises to other county employees.

Jones’ comments may be meant to remind the library board who’s king of the county, but there are a couple of little problems King Harry should consider. First, local citizens have much more respect for the folks who run one of the nation’s finest library systems (or at least it was until the current budget fiasco) than they’ve ever had for him. Second, if the library board acted peevishly by referring complainers to the county commission, you frankly can’t blame them. We’ve noted this before, but it bears repeating until it sinks in with Jones’ bosses on the commission: Much of the current community angst over library and school cuts is due to the way Jones (and the financial wizards he hired to keep up with the county’s money) waited until the last possible minute to tell the library and CMS to gut their budgets. The reason for the delay? Oh, well, Jones &  Co.  didn’t realize that revenue was going to be so much lower than expected — who’d-a thought that was possible in a deep recession, huh? — and they kept thinking the numbers would get better, so they waited and waited and waited. The upshot was that the schools and libraries were blindsided by Jones' demand for massive cuts, which had to be decided on within a matter of days. In most places, Jones & Co.’s actions would be considered incompetent. Here, he gets to go around talking crap about those he blindsided. But who are we to comment? It’s King Harry’s county; we just live in it.

King Harry of Mecklenburg: do it his way or you'll pay
  • King Harry of Mecklenburg: do it his way or you'll pay

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