Follow up on the Greene County cutting allowance to the DDC

I first wrote about this back on Jan 22nd– patting the Greene County Commission on the back, for taking a stand for their taxpayers.

On Jan 28, 2010- the Dayton Daily News called them on the carpet:

Greene County’s commissioners are either being petty or they’re lost in the financial weeds.

Last week Commissioners Marilyn Reid and Alan Anderson approved a $44.7 million operating budget, in which they cut funding to the Dayton Development Coalition to $25,000.

The coalition is an economic development organization that is funded with contributions from local governments and area businesses.

Commissioner Rick Perales voted no, in part, because he wanted to guarantee that the coalition will receive $50,000. A Greene County development agency may yet decide to kick in another $25,000.

You’re reading all of this right. Greene County has an almost $45 million budget, and elected officials are haggling over peanut shells — not even the peanuts. But there’s more.

Last year, Greene County contributed $50,000 to the coalition, while in 2008, the commissioners allotted $195,000.

The commissioners paint the reductions as a statement about cost-cutting. But that’s not serious.

via Editorial: Greene County snubs its best advocate | A Matter of Opinion.

Why do our politicians feel incapable of lobbying directly? Isn’t that what the layers of government are supposed to do? Move things up the food chain?

Greg and I have a little discussion for you on this- questioning how this group of lobbyists gets a virtual free pass from the Dayton Daily News- and we wonder why?

It’s about time our politicians started doing the lobbying for us directly. Otherwise, why bother electing them at all- we can just cut the checks directly to the DDC and cut out the middle men.

Reality Check for the Dayton Development Coalition

The top paid administrator in Montgomery County is Deborah Feldman- her pay is around $180K

That pales in comparison to what the Dayton Development Coalition pays its top honcho, who has been paid in the $300K range (numbers are hard to nail down because the DDC is always late in filing its financials).

While all of us are tightening belts, and people are losing jobs, benefits and accepting pay cuts- it’s business as usual for the DC lobbyists of the Dayton Development Coalition. Funded partially with your tax dollars, yet with no oversight by the public, this organizations continues on cruise control as if nothing has changed.

Yesterday, 2 of 3 Greene County Commissioners decided to put direct services to the people first and cut the Dayton Development Coalitions allowance:

Greene County Commissioners in 2010 will provide only one-eighth of the funding they did 2008 to the Dayton Development Coalition, one of the largest cuts the group has seen.

Greene County’s contribution this year will be $25,000, compared with roughly $200,000 in 2008.

The coalition is a collaborative of business and elected leaders who lobby to bring jobs and project money to the area. It’s funded by business and municipal members….

Commissioner Marilyn Reid said she couldn’t agree to more funding for the coalition when county employees had been furloughed, had hours cut and had no pay raises in two years. “It’s just a very, very difficult situation,” she said.

via Greene County slices funding to Dayton Development Coalition.

The sad part is that our “elected leadership” doesn’t feel welcome, or capable going to either the State House or the White House to lobby for you directly. They seem to think they need to hire these slick talking, well dressed, high dollar suits to remind those at the top who really represents us.

Not only that, they need private corporations’ help to fund them (or the private corporations need our help- can’t tell) on their mission of “economic development.” The sad truth is that these people are still living in the “If it’s good for General Motors, it’s good for the country” mantra- we see where GM is now- and in reality, the beneficiary these days still has the word “General” involved- but, it’s the retired generals– who are cleaning up for the military-industrial complex.

The real question is whether other communities will follow Greene County’s lead?

These are your tax dollars. You can’t vote the DDC out- but, is this the beginning of a move to demand that the people we elect be our only lobbyists? Since the Supreme Court just gave corporations a blank check in elections- will we need lobbyists at all? We can just auction off the seats in Congress on Ebay.

Kudos to Greene County for taking this bold step.