Editor’s note: The following letter is addressed to the Palm Beach County Commission. A copy was sent to the Town-Crier for publication.
My fellow residents of Palm Beach County and I are tired of living in what has come to be known as “Corruption County.” Three years ago, nearly three-quarters of us voted to have an independent inspector general who would erase that stigma. That office was to be funded by one-quarter of 1 percent from all vendors doing business in the county. It was a good plan that would cost the taxpayers nothing.
But, as the saying goes, “the best laid plans of mice and men…” From the start, the will of the people was thwarted — first, by a county computer system that couldn’t accommodate charging vendors for their payments. (Note: technology can put a man on the moon but it would take half a million dollars to make a bookkeeping change!) Then, 15, now 14, cities brought a lawsuit claiming the inspector general’s office imposed an unfair tax. (Did you guys forget that the vendors are supposed to pay?) Now it comes out that the cities are willing to drop the suit if the inspector general’s office would be restricted from conducting audits! Next, the clerk of the courts refused to release the money that the honest, non-suing cities had already paid. And the obstacles continue to be thrown in the path of cleaning up our county.
Now the inspector general is faulted for not bringing in the kind of money that was expected. Well, how could she, with just half the funding that office needs and half the staff? Conspiracy may be a “four-letter word,” but this really sounds like a case study in conspiracy — a conspiracy to undermine the wishes of the voters, a conspiracy to be able to continue the old ways that gave our county the infamous title and the freedom to deal without oversight. Commissioners, we owe it to the inspector general to allow her to do her job and provide the resources as directed by the voters of Palm Beach County. And you owe it to us to support that vision.
Arlene Olinsky, Royal Palm Beach