Saturday, February 12, 2011

"Hoggardnomics" - Brings Out
The Patriots In Bertie County

by John Davis
Merry Hill, NC

My memory works differently than a lot of politicians and likely so does yours. Don’t forget this during election 2012...

In November 2010 -- At the November 15th Bertie County Commissioners meeting the Roanoke Chowan Herald reported on a request by the Bertie Board of Education, for a salary increase for BOE members. The Herald reported:

At Monday’s Bertie County Commissioners meeting, Commissioner Rick Harrell noted, “I did some math and came up with $15,000 that this (the increase) could cost in a year (five board members times $250 a month for 12 months).”

The Herald went on to report that the chairman of the commissioners followed:

Vice-Chairman L.C. Hoggard, reading from a pre-prepared statement, said, “I can appreciate the members of the school board or any person feeling that there should be additional compensation for what they are doing. I know that as a Board you have been working hard for the students and parents of Bertie County. In times of prosperity there would probably not be a second thought about granting you your request. However, notice what I said, “in times of prosperity.” We are facing a harsh economic reality in this country, state and in our county. People are struggling. People are losing their jobs. My fear is that for us to grant a raise for anyone at this point would be a slap in the face of what is decent for today’s situation.”

He continued, “The school board, like us commissioners, have been elected and called to serve the best interest of our citizens. Sure there are token measures of appreciation to board members, but we serve because we want to protect the best interest of our public and its citizens. Based upon principal (sp), I cannot agree to a raise for any public servant at this point. This may be something that we can look at once the tide of economic downfall starts to change, but at this point we need to stay put and send the message that our students and citizens come first. I would have to vote no, at this time.”

Commissioner Wallace Perry added, “Well stated, and I totally agree with you.”

Harrell stated, “I totally agree with you too.”

In February 2011 -- In the February 9th edition of the Bertie Ledger, Bertie Commissioner Chairman, L.C. Hoggard, defended the decision of the commissioners in granting Lamb's raise in September 2009 with the statement --

"The salary was extended two years ago and we could not predict the economy". He then went on to say, "But we have good fund balances now and we have frozen pay raises and hiring in the county for now".

Mr. Hoggard appears to be defending the commissioner’s decision to give Mr. Lamb a raise in September of 2009, by saying that the commissioners could not have predicted in September 2009 the tougher economic times we would face in November 2010. We have entered the age of “Hoggardnomics” where the laws of supply and demand are bent to the whims of whatever political explanation is needed at the time. Economists debate on the beginning and end of the great recession, but center around it starting in late 2007 or early 2008 and ending sometime in late 2009 to early 2010. What is not debatable is that the largest one day drop in the Dow Jones stock index occurred in September 2009. Now maybe Mr. Hoggard and his merry band of economists/commissioners could not predict November 2010, but they approved Mr. Lamb’s 42% raise in the same month as the largest single day drop in the Dow Jones Stock Index (778 points). It is really a shame that Mr. Harrell’s economic calculator, which worked so well in November of 2010, was on the blink in September of 2009. Did it really take 15 months of economic hell for our commissioners to find their “common economic sense” or was November’s prepared statement simply political grandstanding at its finest.

Mr. Hoggard says the commissioners have frozen pay raises and hiring for now, but when did they do that? The 778 point DOW drop in September 2009 was after Congress did not pass the $700 billion bailout bill. Every political leader with a brain and some resemblance of public accountability knew the time for austerity started in September of 2009. Every leader everywhere that is, except the Bertie County Commissioners. September 2009 was NOT “a time of prosperity.” Using Chairman Hoggard’s emphasis, please notice what I said, NOT “a time of prosperity”. Thanks for the slap in the face Chairman Hoggard.

As Commissioners Wallace Perry and Rick Harrell, agreed with Chairman Hoggard’s statements in November 2010 and voted with him in September 2009, everything said here applies to them as well.

The word on the street is that Mr. Hoggard and Mr. Perry have met with Alton Parker to discuss paying a new Superintendant $160,000 per year. Reportedly both commissioners have said the county will support this with funding. If this occurs it is only the commissioners creating political cover for their mishandling of Mr. Lambs increase.

In the end these are symptoms of poor and arrogant leadership that we as citizens have allowed to occur. Sometime we take for granted what occurred 235 years ago when government (the English Crown) did not listen or respect the wishes of the people it served. In the last week, I have seen the citizens of Bertie County awakening from our great slumber.

We are in for tougher days as the upcoming tax revaluation must mean lower revenues for the county unless our tax rate per hundred increases or soil types change how farm land is rated for use tax. We all need to leave our “firesides” for a while. It is time to refresh the tree of liberty a little bit.

This is NOT a time for sunshine patriots. There is hard work to be done. I hope to see you at the next commissioners meeting set for Monday February 28th at 7 PM.


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