Braxton Citizens' News, Opinion

A fitting honor…

We have received a lot of positive comments regarding our publications naming Dr. Sally Stewart as Humanitarian of the Decade. Over the years we have recognized outstanding citizens of our community for their unselfish deeds. None are more deserving than Dr. Sally!

We have planned this selection for quite some time. During that process, we often felt that naming her the Humanitarian of the “Year” just wasn’t a fitting tribute considering all she has done for both her two legged and 4 legged friends and neighbors over a multitude of years. That’s when we decided on the word “Decade.” Even that doesn’t really recognize near all the work and dedication that Dr. Stewart has given her adopted home.

Words alone cannot express the gratitude that all of Braxton County should have for this outstanding, and unselfish lady. We are truly lucky she and Russ chose us!

EMS turmoil…

I went to a work session called by the County Commission just before the end of the year to discuss issues related to 9-1-1 and EMS. I think the meeting was productive. It allowed everyone to express their views and hear mostly facts compared to rumors. I have over 50 years invested in those services so my interest goes beyond just my responsibility at this newspaper.

As is often the case in such disputes, much of the contention is between management and the worker bees. I have run both of these agencies and I know firsthand that keeping the peace is very difficult. However, no one devalues the importance of both organizations to the wellbeing they provide for our population. Therefore, they can and will get past this bump in the road.

The financial picture for both was a big topic of discussion. I pointed out that one of my observations over the years is that few want to look at either agency as a business. Unfortunately, that can’t be ignored. In any business, salaries and benefits are the biggest consumer of $$$.

I certainly want to see people paid for the work they provide. If manning both agencies has to come from employees of 9-1-1 and EMS crossing from one group to the other, then, while from a business standpoint its problematic, it may very well have to continue. However, as a watchdog of public funds, I want to make sure that abuse is not occurring. With that in mind, I filed a Freedom of Information request for salaries and overtime pay for all employees of 9-1-1 and EMS. Our county Clerk was very studious in replying to that request as required by law, and the information was picked up today. As soon as the papers this week go to press, I will begin my in depth review of that data… stay tuned….