Daily Press: eliminate constitutional offices

Making the same arguments that I have for some time now, the editorial board of the Daily Press has come out in favor of eliminating constitutional officers.

… stop electing this [commissioner of the revenue] job and make it a staff position in the county finance department, where it — and the treasurer — belong.Every locality should do that. They should also take the steps necessary to stop electing two other offices that have no business being elected: sheriff and clerk of circuit court.

[…]

Filling these jobs by recruiting people with relevant qualifications, and making them accountable to the professional executives who run local government, will make local operations more efficient and smoother running. And it could save money.

Given the financial strains that the localities and the state have endured, a look at eliminating these offices just makes good sense.

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7 thoughts on “Daily Press: eliminate constitutional offices

  1. Not to mention saving money, we could hire someone to do the Clerk of the Court’s job for about what half clerks get paid…that’s a remnant of the Byrd Machine…the clerk was the machine’s fixer in each locality.

  2. You don’t necessarily save money by eliminating the positions. You would actually create an extra level, because in the tax offices, you still have to keep the assessment and collection functions separate. And, by consolidating the two tax offices, you put the entire taxation function under the control of of the city council or board of supervisors. Not a good idea.

  3. But that is the way we’ve always done it! Right?

    I’ve always argued they should be eliminated. And certainly agree with Vivian and her good points made for a long time on this one. Particularly when it comes to the whole Comm of Rev and Treasurer offices. Way, way, way too much redundancy in costs, tasks and virtually everything else associated with the functions in these offices.

    Not to mention the confusion for citizens about who does what … “Is this an assessment or a collection issue?” …. Just dumb.

    But then again, fixing it is another matter. Politics of course. Not to mention the ingrained “But, we’ve always done it this way.” argument. Reminded me of a story I used to use often in speaking on change and the difficulty therein. An oldie, but goodie, of which there are several variations. Here’s my favorite:

    Example: The Easter Ham Story

    As a little girl watches her mom prepare the Easter ham, she wonders why her mother cuts off both ends of the ham before putting it in the pot. So, she asks why, and her mom realizes that she doesn’t know. That’s the way her mother prepared the Easter ham.
    So they call grandmother and pose the question about cutting off the ends of the Easter ham. Grandmother admits to not knowing either. She just prepared the ham the way her mom did it.

    Their next call is to great-grandmother. When they ask her about her method of preparing the Easter ham, she laughs. Then she says, “It was the only way I could get the Easter ham to fit the small pot I had!”

  4. I agree. You don’t have to look any further then the Sheriff of Hampton to see why these officials, who do not have to answer to localities, can get us into trouble. The sheriff is accused of having deputies and inmates help during his election by placing signs, setting up events and handing out literature. According to the lawsuit if the sheriff officers did not agree or supported the other candidate they were fired. There was nothing the city could do. Now there is a lawsuit over it.

    You would think the voters would have been concerned since it came up in the last election but they were not. The voters voted him right in again. So there should be someone over seeing these offices.

    I do not know who would pay if the lawsuit is successful I assume it would be the City of Hampton.

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