Does the County Really Need a Spin Doctor?

This headline on KeysNet.com caught my eye a few days ago.  I knew I wanted to write about it, but had to let things percolate for a while.

Carruthers wants county government to have public information officer, others balk

The last thing Monroe County needs is a spin doctor.  Their problem is too much spin, not too little.  Besides, spin will only backfire if you put false information out there.  Eventually somebody will figure it out and call you on it.  That’s what is happening to them now whether they realize it or not.

Here’s some free advice from me to the county.

STEP 1:  Govern the county in such a way that you do NOT have to lie.  If you’re fair, you don’t have to make up bogus documents showing how “fair” you are.  Same goes with being competent.

STEP 2:  Acknowledge the facts, especially important when those facts are obvious.  Here’s an unintentionally hilarious/frightening quote from Comm. Carruthers.

“I’m not convinced we managed the [Cudjoe sewer project] situation in the best light,” she said.

Ya think?  IT’S $43 MILLION OVER BUDGET!  THE CUSTOMERS ARE SUING EVERYONE ASSOCIATED WITH IT.  IT’S A DISASTER.  Good grief.  Anyone who is capable of addition and subtraction knows the Cudjoe Regional project is out of control.  Same goes for the outrageous funding disparity that impacts Key Largo taxpayers.  A pretty flyer isn’t going to going to change the facts.  It will only make the county look more out-of-touch and dishonest than they already do.

STEP 3:  Act on the facts.  The county knows they have mistreated their taxpayers in Key Largo.  They know this is unethical.  They know this is bad policy.  They continue to do it anyway.  The county knows the Cudjoe project is way over budget and hated by the residents.  They continue to throw money at it hoping it will go away rather than getting at the root cause – a lack of transparency.  The county needs to forthrightly acknowledge these problems and fix them.  Hiring a spin doctor to pretend there really is no problem is just throwing good money after bad.

Fortunately, the spin doctor idea didn’t gain any traction with the other commissioners.  Even so, I get the impression that the commission is quite pleased with themselves.  By their actions, or lack thereof, they demonstrate their approval of the $100 million wastewater funding disparity that is so damaging to Key Largo.  They also seem content with their handling of Cudjoe Regional – $43 million over budget and a crowd of unhappy taxpayers.  If they think they’re doing a good job, I hate to see what a bad job looks like.

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2 Responses to Does the County Really Need a Spin Doctor?

  1. Andrew Tobin says:

    Margaret,
    I have often thought that every branch of government needs an independent ombudsperson to “watch out for the folks.” Thank you for devoting your time, energy and analytical expertise to reviewing how our tax dollars are spent.
    Sincerely,
    Andrew Tobin, Commissioner KLWTD

    Like

    • M_Blank says:

      Thanks Andy. Normally that would be the press. But in Monroe County the lies come extra fast and extra thick. There’s no way the press can keep up with it all try as they might.
      Kay Thacker was a very effective watchdog on certain issues. She will be missed.
      I would love to see an army of fact-checkers. Ever thought of starting a blog? 😉

      Like

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