Mouth That Roars

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself of National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the "MOUTH THAT ROARS" Column in the Sullivan County Post.

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December 3rd, 2010

Does Sorensen think he is county executive?

Alan Sorensen is beginning to act as if he is our County Executive and not a legislator.

Over the past few weeks he has been combative with fellow legislators, and now he wants them to “sit down, review the budget, and come up with one or two meaningful ideas to help change policies that will lead to cutting costs next year.”

Sorensen’s concerns that the proposed budget might be depleting reserves in order to achieve no tax increases deserves merit, but perhaps Sullivan County taxpayers cannot afford to even pay a one percent tax hike.

Several weeks ago Sorensen wanted legislator’s to rollback their salaries as a symbolic gesture. This is something Kathy LaBuda has done for years without making demands on fellow colleagues.

Sorensen wants all department heads to devise a plan to reduce their budgets by 1%. He claims if they do this we can save $1,907,897. As our former Planning Commissioner he says it can easily be accomplished.

Sorensen wants to reduce the cost for all contracted professional services including Legal Aid and audits. He wants Sullivan County to issue a new request for proposals to all companies and agencies providing such services with the goal of reducing costs and using local firms who will hire local employees.

Sorensen also wants the county to market beds at our adult care facility as a source of income, and wants us to reduce Medicaid fraud with proper screening.

All this sounds noble, doable, and honorable, the only problem is that Sorensen is coming up with this plan a little too late. Where was he months ago when the budget discussions initially began?

Is he trying to tell us that our other eight members of the legislature and County Manager David Fanslau refuse to discuss budgetary items with him?

There is nothing wrong with an elected official taking a stand on issues and working to find solutions, after all that is what they are elected to do.

However, legislators have every right to be angry with Sorensen. He lacked the courtesy in discussing his “wants” with them first. Even Republican Minority Leader Leni Binder found out about his “wants” through reading published reports.

Sorensen is a smart and innovative legislator, but none of his suggestions are new or even pioneering. Department heads have already been asked to make cuts and expenses of outsourcing and legal aid has been an issue raised for years.

The cost of Medicaid and our Adult Care Center is something Fanslau has actively been discussing with the legislature and as a member of the legislature Sorensen knows that.

If we are going to accomplish anything, all of our elected officials have to sit down and work together. Our problems are very real, and now is no time for grandstanding to make headlines.

If Sorensen wants to become County Executive, perhaps he should do something about amending our charter so we can elect one.

Judging by all his wants, it definitely sounds like Sorensen wants something and it is just not to balance our budget.

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