What kind of a society are we when we wonâ€™t take care of the least among us in the name of fiscal responsibility?
Judging by the flurry of letters and emails that were sent to this newspaper regarding Lincoln Countyâ€™s Board of Commissioners decision to defund Home Health, the answer is, not much.
Which is why we applaud the commissionersâ€™ decision to hold a special meeting at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday to re-examine the issue.
Itâ€™s an excellent example of the voice of the people making itself heard. The hue and cry that rang out after the decision had been announced was overwhelming. Not only did readers of this newspaper express their opinions, they got out and hit the pavement, circulating a petition that already bears more than 1,000 signatures.
The Board of Commissioners had little choice but to listen. It may have been short-sighted on their part to cut off funding, regardless how noble their intent, but the board does show its willingness to re-examine the issue and reconsider its original decision. We urge that it do so. The applause to hold the special session will be eclipsed by the applause heard for funding that should be restored.
At the same time, however, we must take the commissioners to task on a related issue.
According to Alice Smithâ€™s front page article in todayâ€™s issue, â€œDuring the May 16 Board of Commissioners meeting, County Attorney Jeff Taylor handed commissioners a memo regarding the Home Health situation.
When reporters requested a copy of the memo following the meeting, they were denied.
On May 17, both the Lincoln Times-News â€¦ officially requested the document â€” as well as all correspondence, including e-mails and memos, regarding Home Health â€” under the Freedom of Information act.â€
The reason cited for the refusal to turn over the information requested, according to Tom Anderson, chairman of the board, who turned the request back over to the county attorney, is that some of the memo dealing with Home Health could include personnel matters, which might make it privileged information.
We contend thatâ€™s a lot of smoke; the pervasive smoke found in the backrooms of yore when wheeling and dealing behind closed doors took place and the only ones who truly benefited were the negotiators themselves, the public be damned.
We offer up this admonition to the Board of Commissioners: The longer you stonewall, the worse you will appear in the eyes of the community. The people of Lincoln County have the right to know.