This page will be used to highlight specific items of interest or points of view from various sources. They will be placed here in chronological order- the newest item at the top. Click on the bulleted item and it will take you to the details.
(Note- this first entry does not require a link- future bulleted entries will have links)
Privatization of the Glynn County Planning Department (7/11/2017)
A lot has been written in The Brunswick News recently about the County's inability to fill vacant positions in its Community Development (a/k/a Planning) Department for the past year. The following letter, written by one of our citizens, was sent yesterday to our County Commissioners with a copy to Alan Ours, the County Manager. We think is expresses very well the sentiments of a great number of our citizens. We hope you agree!!
"I was stunned and dismayed to read of the Commission considering a privatization of the Planning Department. My dismay is not over whether looking at outsourcing is a bad idea. As I have said to the Commission before, using outside benchmarks to see if there is a private, faster, smarter, cheaper alternative to many functions should be a normal part of the Budget Process and although currently missing, should be a part of the Strategic Plan.
There are however certain functions which are so essential to the well being of the county and rest upon unique knowledge of the county, that they should never be outsourced. Planning is one of those functions. It appears as though the Commission has turned to outsourcing because its administration cannot fill the required position—not because it is looking for a better alternative. May I respectfully suggest that outsourcing Mosquito Control and sanitation pickup is not the same thing as outsourcing the most dominant topic on the Commission’s agenda.
I don’t know why the positions can’t be filled. According to the Chamber of Commerce, Glynn County is a great place to live. According to your Strategic Plan, you as a Commission place a high priority on “Valued Employees.“ According to the compensation being offered, it is at or above market level. And I am not interested in Mr. Ours' lame excuse that others are having problems hiring. Mr. Ours needs to focus on the counties that are not having problems to see what they are doing right. If you want to know why we are having problems, go ask the people who are turning us down. Ask the planners who have left us. Ask yourselves what it could be that you could change to make these jobs highly desirable?
But now that privatization is under consideration, I might suggest that the concept of running a parallel private search while interviewing outsourcing firms, is not going to be a big plus when possible planners look at these jobs. Would you want to pickup your family and move here while you know you may be privatized out of a job. I shudder to think how Ms. Thompson must feel when Mr. Ours says this a good time to privatize because we only have her left. If I were she, my resume would be be hitting the Internet.
Two comments by Mr. Stambaugh did interest me. First he is quoted as saying “outsourcing would remove (it) from what some people see as undue political interests and pressure from business interests” I thought that was the job of the Commission to see that such things don’t occur. He also said “ we’ve had a lot of issues in trying to hire for those jobs “. Really? What are the issues? Could they be the source of the problems?
One thing is for sure, outsourcing is not going to eliminate political and business pressures. If an outsourcing firm buckles to those pressures, then we are no better off than we have been. If that firm, however, resigns to keep its reputation intact, then we are right back where we started.
The Commission needs to find out the root causes of our difficulty in hiring good people before it simply quits. The problems aren’t going away by themselves."