Nine is just fine

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 8, 2002

What to do over the county commission?

My grandmother always said, &uot;If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.&uot;

What sage old words of wisdom and advice &045; simple words, far too removed from logic in today’s society.

Shelby County presently has nine county commissioners.

It seems we went from four to nine with the good intentions of better serving the masses of people moving into Shelby County. It appears, however, that it was done without some legal technicality, yet the people of this county have obviously been pleased with the outcome of it.

One could even say, based on what has happened in Baldwin County, that forcing Shelby County back to its pre-nine commission is just a way for someone to create a lawsuit, stall Shelby County’s progress and make thousands of dollars from legal fees.

Having county commissioners represent the size districts they have is likened to the student-teacher ratio in the classroom. It’s also the same theory behind having 105 House members and 35 Senators to represent each district in the Alabama Legislature.

As a matter of fact, there are days I would like to see only four legislators for our entire state. That’s about what it would take to accomplish what 140 of them can’t accomplish in an entire legislative session.

But then again, that cut wouldn’t be logical either. There must be fair representation of &uot;the people.&uot;

While some may say four commissioners should be adequate to handle the job, can four possibly be adequate enough to handle our population? Not only today, but in two to four years from now? Our population is going nowhere but up.

While I have always been and remain to be a believer in the theory, &uot;Less government is the best government,&uot; why would you reduce the number of county commissioners in the fastest growing county in the state and one of the fastest growing in the nation? If we do, we’ll need to add them back in four more years when our population adds several thousand additional families to our citizen rolls. Any less number of commissioners will only mean less representation for &uot;the people&uot; &045; the taxpayers of Shelby County.

It would lessen the voice of &uot;the people&uot; through their chosen representatives elected through our democratic process. Local government could become much like an overcrowded classroom with 60 children to one teacher. It could work, but it wouldn’t be the most effective means or in the best interests of the children.

With four commissioners, it could also work, but would it be the most effective and in the best interests of &uot;the people?&uot;

I may hear compelling arguments that will change my mind, and if so, I will listen and re-visit my thoughts on the subject. But right now, when it comes to our nine member county commission, all things considered, it’s worked well enough so far (well enough that no one knew there was anything wrong with it.)

So nine is fine