Thursday, June 17, 2010

Community Agency Rankings, Teresa Borsuk, Budget Hearings Begin, and Personal and Campaign Notes

Compared to previous weeks, this week was a quieter week on the Board floor. We passed a variety of important resolutions, but none were controversial.

The Board of Commissioners passed the resolution creating the Community Agency ranking system. I mentioned this last week, but thought I would provide more information. The 2011 Community Agency ranking criteria is as follows, in order of importance:
  1. The extent to which the proposal directly contributes to addressing the County’s long-term priority of “Meeting Basic Needs”. Does the proposal provide basic necessities for those in need, such as food, clothing, and shelter or help to provide assistance in obtaining such things as household utilities that are needed by families and individuals?
  2. The extent to which the proposal leverages other sources of funding. What other funding sources are being leveraged, including state, federal, other non-profit and private sources? Will this funding be used as match for a larger grant or to leverage other funding?
  3. The degree to which the proposal demonstrates collaborative approaches to program and service delivery. What other agencies and organizations are participating in the proposed project?
  4. The extent to which the proposal demonstrates creativity and innovation. Does this proposal represent proven “best practices” in its particular subject? Does the program produce measurable results? Has this proposal ever been tried before? If the proposal is not new, then what is the track record of success, has there been a positive impact on the community?
  5. The number of years the agency has received County funding (fewer years = higher rating).
  6. Timeliness in submitting the proposal. Were deadlines to submit the proposal met to a reasonable standard? Was the proposal complete when submitted?
We also took the time to thank one of our distinguished employees who is retiring. We honored Teresa Borsuk, who served Ingham County for 32 years (most recently in Clerk Bryanton's office). We on the Board worked closely with her, and it was great to hear about her accomplishments as a UAW representative in creating employee training opportunities. Congratulations Teresa!

This week also started the important process of the budget for 2011. As I have mentioned in the past, the Controller first asks Department heads for budgets. In that request, she asks what each Department head can do to cut their budget because we will have a significant ($7-8 million) shortfall next year. After the Controller requests these documents, each Department head provides the information to the Controller. They then have an opportunity to come and discuss this with the committee chairs, members, controller, and budget director. The Law Enforcement committee has already held this meeting, and the other committees (County Services, Human Services, Judiciary) will be doing them next week. After that, the Controller puts together a recommended budget for the Commissioners which is presented to us in August. We then start budget hearings in committees in September and finalize the budget in October or November. We also sometimes have Board Leadership meetings (which are special meetings of the full Board for a specific purpose) to discuss the budget. These are meetings that are more like work-groups with discussion about the specifics. These are meetings where we give direction to the Controller and budget staff on what we think are priorities for her to recommend to us. These meetings, of course, are publicly noticed and open to the public.

On a personal note, I was interviewed this week on the budget situation by Channel 6 news. They focused on the importance to the citizens of Hawk Island county park, and my efforts to ensure that it is not closed or severely cut. You can see the story here. Nice job, Stacia!

On the campaign front, my opponent continued the weekly litany of attacks on me. He said in a letter to the editor that I don't attend neighborhood meetings, and when I do it is only for 15 minutes. To rebut this newest claim, I would first point out that he doesn't know that I do attend neighborhood meetings (I have several in my district) as often as my county commission meeting schedule allows because, as he said in the letter to the editor, he has only lived in the district for 6 months. What he also fails to mention is that he is referencing a meeting I recently had to leave early in order to attend a county commission meeting! So he attacks me because he thinks I don't do my job, then attacks me for doing my job. Of course, he knew why I left early because he was there and heard me tell the neighbors at the meeting that I was going to a county commisison meeting, yet he purposely omitted it in his letter. Interesting. He also says that I have never faced an opponent in any of my elections. Again, he has only been here 6 months so he doesn't know that I faced a very tough primary in my first election. The difference, though, is that my opponent and I ran positive campaigns that year. Jim Kirsch ran a great race and I have tremendous respect for Jim, We both worked very hard in that election and I was priveledged enough to be victorious. This year is the first race, though, that I have faced an opponent using negative campaign tactics against me. Thankfully, it isn't working and the voters are seeing right through it!

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