Poor public servant performance

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To the Editor:
After attending and speaking at meetings of both the School Board and the Board of Supervisors this week, I am dismayed.  It is obvious to me that many of these “public servants” have forgotten who they are in office to serve.  As with our federal government, it appears that local officials seem more intent on amassing larger and larger budgets to fund government with less and less consideration of those who are paying the bills.  

Over the coming weeks leading up to Chesterfield’s attempt to extract even more money from its citizens by increasing the real estate tax rate or putting pressure on the system to increase the assessments, I plan to share some examples of the way that Chesterfield (county side) and the School Division have spent the public’s money.

I will try to distill information from many of the examples of poor spending practices that I have collected, and tell as simple a story as I can of the way those practices waste our money and leave us vulnerable to continued exchange of our scarce resources for much less than acceptable value.

When they can defer a case involving the size of a chicken coop to hold six chickens and the distance from the property line to locate it, but cannot wait another month to properly address issues raised with a contract for turning over millions of dollars of the public’s park facilities to a private contractor who will make millions using those facilities, I think the Board of Supervisors has misplaced its priorities.  No one is playing softball in January.

See below for just a few examples related to public park facilities that should concern Chesterfield’s taxpayers, many of whom are struggling while county executives with six-figure salaries do nothing to require accountability of those who are failing to properly execute their responsibilities.

Model for how to take care of the taxpayers’ business in Chesterfield County (initial installment)  Warbro Athletic Complex and Daniels Park at Ironbridge:

  1.  1.  Cancel a 2010 concession contract that pays you $16,000 annually two-thirds of the way through the contract and “negotiate” a payment of $6,000 for the eight months contract was in force.
  2.  2.  Turn those concessions over to a firm with no contract in place for the remainder of the year and get no payment in return.  (Loss:  $10,000)
  3.  3.  Turn nine public softball fields over to a firm with no contract in place and get nothing for four months despite having a contract awaiting approval that requires $65,000 annual rent payments.  (Loss:  $21,668)  Exposure to potential liability by allowing occupancy of real estate with no written contract:  Unknown.
  4.  4.  Contrary to terms of contract awaiting approval, continue to pay water and sewer charges that are supposed to be paid by firm using public facilities with no contract in place.
  5.  5.  Allow Dominion Virginia Power to turn a Chesterfield account for electricity over to a collection agency because the firm operating public park facilities with no contract has not had the meter put in the firm’s name as required by the contract awaiting approval.

Taxpayers might be curious about what standard of performance our public servants are being held to.  There’s a lot more.

Brenda Stewart