We, The People. March Edition 2012

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The goal for these articles over the last year or so has been to shed some light on the workings of your county government and to try to keep you as informed about the issues as possible. Much has gone on over the last two months and to be honest with you, I'm still a little perplexed as to what to say. More people seemed to have paid attention to these few 'side' issues than almost anything else that has gone on in the last year. Maybe it's because these really weren't 'side' issues to begin with.

Several times in these past months folks have just walked up to me and said "sometimes right is right." The profoundness and simplicity of those words cuts right to the heart of the issue. Those of us who opposed the appointment of a Planning Commissioner who lived outside of Spartanburg County were criticized for somehow being petty, partisan, or ideological. Those of us who were against changing certain board appointments to all "at large" appointments were told that we just didn't understand the process and that the Council knew best. Although both of these issues may seem to be insignificant and should never have gotten controversial, the fact of the matter is that sometimes right is right, and allowing business as usual is not an option.

 

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We, The People. January 2012

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I really love this time of year.  The great feelings from the holiday time you spent with family still linger while the excitement of a new beginning rushes in.  It’s always been a time to reflect on the past year and to resolve that the year ahead will be one of productivity and growth.  (Or loss if your goals include watching your weight!)  This year, I hope we all see growth and prosperity in all that we pursue.

 

The excitement of new beginnings is not lost on Spartanburg County.  This past week our new administrator, Katherine Hubbard, came on board and hit the ground running.  We all have great expectations for Katherine and her ability to see things in a fresh new light.  I encourage everyone to take an opportunity to speak with her and welcome her to Spartanburg. 

 

Recently I read the updates I’ve given over the last year.  Wow!  What a year we’ve had!  We The People have certainly been busy.  Although much of the work seemed to center around cleaning the fridge, my belief is that this year will be a time of productive, forward looking change. 

 

CORRECTIVE ACTION TEAM

Many of the changes we made last year are poised to really move us forward this year.  The Corrective Action Team for instance, exposed areas where we were far

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We The People. October Edition

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Have you cleaned out your refrigerator lately?  Not one of my favorite jobs.  That's probably why it gets done so infrequently.  It doesn't help that the bad stuff in the fridge doesn't smell near as bad as long as it's in there.  Take it out, and....well let's just say I've been known to put it right back in.  I have to build up the courage to take on that project and face having the stuff out in the open air - and it's usually right before trash pickup. 

 

Over the last 10 months, our county has been cleaning out its own fridge.  That's why I want to take this month's opportunity to ease some concerns many of you have about the negative, and sometimes even alarming, news that has been coming out lately about your Spartanburg County Government.  First of all, I'm not here to sugarcoat what's going on.  Some of the news you've heard is alarming.  Anytime there are allegations of fraud, mismanagement or even criminal behavior occurring in your organization, there is cause for concern.  Since all this news has been coming out over the last 6 months, many are feeling that the leadership (Council) is not taking control or is 'asleep at the wheel'.  Actually, the scenario is quite the opposite.  As most of you know,  I've made a commitment to not take the easy route as it comes to our representation.  We all knew that by asking for change (the real kind) and not settling for the 'status quo', we were in fact asking for a good hard look at our current state and to get back where we need to be.  Sometimes when you take that hard look you find that things have not been what you might have hoped and sometimes the findings are pretty hard to swallow.  The true test of commitment is when you have to make the tough decisions to deal with the findings, learn from them and move on.  Your Council is making this effort and is now having to deal with the tough decisions, the negative press and yes, the embarrassment that this type of 'cleansing' brings.  It's up to all of us now, as taxpayers and concerned citizens, to come together and support this idea of bringing these things out into the open and dealing with them as we should.  I'm sure many elected officials will tell you that they would much rather not stir the pot than to have to deal with the ramifications of bringing these negative things to light.  I happen to be of the mindset that, as frustrated as we might be, we would all rather have these issues dealt with than to have them swept under the rug.  Now, it would be very easy for a newly elected official like myself to point fingers at past councils and talk about who didn't do what, when.  The fact is that we are working to uncover, examine, correct and learn NOW.  That is what is important.  For those that would say that those that are just now starting to look are probably running for re-election, I would remind you that a majority of council is not up for re-election for another 3 years.  It is my strong belief that Council joins us in our determination to make things right. 

 

Bottom line is that a great deal of negative press has come out recently about your county government.  It may even get worse before it gets better.  The good news is that your council is taking an active role in changing the way Spartanburg County does business.  We are taking a good hard look at where we are and where we need to be.  We are more open and transparent than ever before.  We are willing to take even drastic action to see that we are the most efficient, service and customer oriented county in the country.  This is exactly what 'no more business as usual' and 'open and transparent' looks like.  As always, please don't hesitate to call me at any time to discuss any issue.  I will gladly discuss any issue that I can.  Please go to my Facebook page or www.rogernutt.com for updates, news and commentaries.  We are all in this together, and we will solve it and become great together as well.  God Bless.

 

We, The People. August Edition

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I was told the summer following the budget process would be rather quiet and relaxing.  As many of you have seen, this has turned out not to be the case.  As we all knew, however, changing things up a little is never easy and rarely happens without some heartache and growing pains. 
 
One of the main concerns I heard when talking with people over the last year is a dissatisfaction with the status quo.  Doing things that we've always done in the same 'ole ways rarely gets new results.  One of the many things that has impressed me with the current council is its determination to not only look for challenges that may impede our goal to be the most efficient and productive county in the nation, but its willingness to meet those challenges head-on and make the necessary, and often difficult decisions to make necessary changes.  I, for one, have made the commitment to you not to turn

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We, The People. July Edition

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Another great holiday has passed with the opportunity for us to all celebrate the birth of this great nation.  I hope everyone got a chance to think about the sacrifices, the foresight, the wisdom and the providence of the great men and women that helped make our country great.  We should make it a point to show our respect and gratitude for the freedoms afforded to us by staying informed and involved.  Our history has shown how great a force we as a people can be when we stand up for freedom. 

 

A great deal of work has been done since I took office on January 4, 2011.  I don't know exactly what I expected when I came on board, but I must say that I was a little surprised to find a council so willing to really get to work and take on some very difficult issues.  You may recall that one of the very first items we tackled was revamping our legal representation.  We could have stayed with the status quo as we had done for over 30 years.  Council, however, was willing to look at the numbers to see if another alternative was more efficient.  We now have a new legal team that works only for the county with a projected savings of $200K - $300K per year. 

 

Another item we decided to take on was that of major county construction project that many of you had concerns about - the Tyger River Regional Park.  As you know, this project had some major budget issues which could have continued to go unnoticed.  Your representatives were diligent and took the necessary steps to rein in the problem before it got further out of control.  When all was said and done, the parks

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