County Government 101- The Commissioners
Government exists because there is work we cannot accomplish by ourselves that we can accomplish together. I can build a driveway, but I cannot build a road. (did you know in simpler times, one could pay their road tax obligations by borrowing the county or township road scraper and then fix the road in front of their property?) Basically county government like State and local government, fulfills the purposes of the preamble of the U.S. Constitution at their particular level. County Government in Morgan County is charged to "establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty" right here in Morgan County.
Here is a primer on how we go about the business of doing that. In every county except Marion there are three commissioners. They are charged by Indiana Constitution and the statutes to act as the executive body and in some cases legislative body for the county. Here is a description of the duties and functions of the county commissioners compiled by Indiana Farm Bureau from Indiana Statues that identifies these many tasks. It is a very specific listing. Obviously, governing a county is not a small or simple matter. The complexity is not for the purpose of keeping the citizens confused, but to assist them in attuning themselves to a government that serves them.
So the commissioners govern the county. I hope you take the opportunity to look at their responsibilities in this regard. They govern, but they do not govern in a vacuum. They depend on many dedicated and able employees and elected officials. Additionally, they DO NOT hold the purse strings. That is the function of the county council, a board of seven elected officials county wide. That is the check. An efficient functioning county government requires the same qualities that make a successful business, or a successful church or successful family ... good managerial skills combined with good financial acumen plus that most important ingredient, caring members. It is a team effort. The other most important player on the team is you, the citizen. Not only through your vote, but through your participation and your caring, we can achieve those blessings that good government can provide.
I cannot end without an example. At nearly every one of our meetings, we have in attendance Jerry McGrath..we call him "Big Mac." Jerry hales from New Jersey. He is retired and serves our county as a reserve deputy in the Sheriff's department. He is a caring citizen. Frequently, he brings helpful suggestions. Recently, we were discussing the solid waste district in the council meetings. A few weeks later, he attended our meeting with an informative brochure he had made for each member that describes and illustrates with pictures the program in his previous county. His suggestions have led me to have a program on county government for high school students and to also include them in our current logo search. He also brought some interesting information about logos and county seals which led me to discover that we have a county seal. It is all about caring and I appreciate the caring of " Big Mac."
By Don Adams, former Commissioner