Our leaders in Buncombe County have failed us.
The highest paid employees embezzled millions of dollars from the county. There is no question that this malfeasance showed a dysfunctional government missing proper checks on power as well as lacking transparency. Some good steps have been taken to try to prevent a similar occurrence in the future, but there is still more work to be done.
The county dashboard currently lets citizens look up purchase orders to see where money has been spent, but not all details are included. Specifically, I’d like any citizen be able to click on the purchase order to be able to see all of the details including who has requested the purchase as well as the employees involved with approving the purchase.
But the transparency in our government shouldn’t stop there. We need much better information so that both our citizens and our commissioners can make better decisions about where to direct our tax dollars. Specifically, I would like to create a dashboard that measures the health of our county.
Our Community Health dashboard should include:
- how crime has increased or decreased over the past five years
- whether test scores in our schools have gone up or down over the past five years
- have racial and gender achievement gaps in our schools improved
- are more people facing housing insecurity and/or food insecurity
- is our infant mortality rate decreasing
- are more people employed
- are wages in the area keeping up with inflation
It is only with this knowledge that citizens can make more informed decisions about what they want their commissioners to work on.