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Issues of the road commission

July 21, 2012
Daily Press


The Delta County Road Commission is currently facing some major issues which can have long term effects on this county and its residents.

These are some facts that the residents of this county should be made aware of as the election draws near and decisions are about to be made. Is this county moving towards putting the road commission cost on county tax rolls?

How much of county government will be outsourced and at what costs and impacts to the residents of this county?

1. The current board is looking to create job descriptions that have been absent for nine years or longer. My question is what happened to the job descriptions this county paid for back in 2003 or 2004, done by a downstate attorney for a cost of tens of thousands of dollars?

2. Why did members of this board and management make unfounded accusations against a road commission employee of 37 years? It took a jury of his peers 18 minutes to find him not guilty. Did management really think this out before trying to ruin his reputation and that of his family and costing tax payers tens of thousands of dollars? Not to mention a black mark on this road commission's judgement and failed leadership. How many miles of road could have been maintained if those tax dollars had stayed locally instead of paying downstate attorneys?

3. Why is this board and management attempting to privatize parts of the road commission without due diligence behind closed doors? If this is exploration, as this board has told concerned citizens at the last three workshops and meetings, why is the company, First Vehicle Services, Inc. placing ads in the local paper (7/11/12) looking for a general manager or is it just a coincidence?

4. Why has this board chosen for six years not to purchase equipment needed to maintain the roads, but now is purchasing four trucks at a cost of approximately $1 million? Is this just another way of showing the public the road commission is saving money by the privatization contract, by lessening repair costs by buying new trucks and replacing the oldest in the fleet? Is this subterfuge, attempting to help to prove to this community the cost savings of this new privatization?

5. Why has this board allowed the staffing numbers of the road commission to shrink by attrition? Is this pre-planned because of the privatization, so that they could again justify to the taxpayer how they have saved costs? Within the next four to five years, we will lose 13 to 14 more of our experienced people. What is this board doing to correct the problems this can create in servicing this community or are they panning to privatize the whole new road commission?

6. Why did the county board appoint the same person twice (2006 and 2011) to this board knowing that he could not run for the position on this commission board because he is a county employee and would be violating the Hatch Act? Where's the accountability to the voters and didn't this create conflicts of interest in that he sits on the board?

7. Will the road commission consider representation from each district as the County Board of Commissioners does? Currently five members are from District one and two as is one candidate running for the commission? This might help to eliminate any appearance of violating the Open Meetings Act when commissioners are socializing and would allow for each district to be represented.

8. If we are looking at saving taxpayer dollars, then let us get rid of the pensions we pay to the road commission board members. It is in my opinion that we should also stop the paying of bonuses and paid up additions to our administrative staff pensions, which in the last negotiations cost the taxpayer approximately seventy-five thousand dollars.

9. When will this board address the issues such as, an ethics policy or an educational policy for its employees, as was suggested by MDOT's audit of September of 2005? When will this board establish their long term and short term goals for each fiscal year so that there is accountability to this county's residents?

In these simple and achievable ways, the county could save tens of thousands of dollars that could be used to provide better service and better roads within this county. It is also a start in creating a board that is accountable to the residents it has been elected to serve.

Peter Mark




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