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We must find a way to roll back county rules and regulations when Chatham County employees overreach

By Michael Tucker
Posted Monday, September 23, 2013

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Pittsboro, NC - We need local government. We need county government for day-to-day living more than we need the federal government. All government in America has become overreaching, intrusive, and crushing to taxpayers and businesses.

The weight of the federal government is crushing all by itself. But let’s not get into that today. Let’s look at Chatham County government.

Chatham County employees are making rules, regulations, effectively COUNTY LAWS that other county residents do not have. I will give clear examples in future posts. We (you and I) MUST figure out how we can turn back these COUNTY LAWS and others that are imposed by county employees with no legal authority. What can we do when they levy a COUNTY LAW and it is wrong? Do we have to go to court? Must you and I spend tens of thousands of dollars for a lawyer who is not afraid to make the county angry?

I started a business in Chatham County 4 1/2 years ago because my wife and I live here and we are committed to our community. Our original business model placed an important emphasis on cooperation with county government to recycle federally regulated solid waste.

We thought it was a “no-brainer” to offer Chatham County the opportunity to divert a small amount of this waste into recycled products with lowered costs for the county and taxpayers with our company taking the risks. If you happen to be a Jim Goodnight, maybe you can find a way to “grease the skids” but if you’re somebody on your own, don’t expect ANYbody in county government to change ANYthing in any way for any reason. I was told if anybody complained about anything it would blow back on the county employee “responsible” so it is simply easier to just say, “NO” than be responsible for any change.

What we found will be described in this post and a few more in the next couple of days. It ain’t pretty. What we thought was a no-brainer revealed a complicated system of how local government operates. I thought the Board of Commissioners would be inclined to help a small, new business focused on truly recycling solid waste in a profitable way but I intend to describe how government employees may really have ALL the power and you and I and an un-connected small business may not have any chance at all.

To be blunt. County employees would rather be invisible than be a hero. County employees are focused on four things ONLY: 1. Spend ALL this year’s budget and cry it was not enough, 2. Don’t get sued, 3. Don’t embarrass your supervisor / county manager, and 4. LOOK BUSY.

If you look at the two tracks for the Chatham County Leadership Academy you will not find any classes like:

  • Saving taxpayer dollars
  • Measuring effectiveness
  • How to end obsolete programs

We offered something new that ALL private sector consultants and environmental engineers see the value for the short term and long term. We believe if there was any interest at all to do business, we could have found a way to make it happen. Instead, any excuse to say NO is good enough.

The Board of Commissioners response was, “We hire the County Manager to manage things. We have to support our County Manager.” But what if they make a mistake? What if they overreach? What if they come up with an excuse that sounds reasonable (to somebody who wants to be reasonable) but extends county reach beyond its authority? Must one surrender and “go along to get along”? But that leaves the county taking WAY MORE authority than it would have otherwise. And from then on, anyone else would be told, “Well, that business went along and that business went along so the precedent is set.” If we had surrendered to the unreasonable demands do I think I might be doing business with the county today? Hell no. He would have found ANOTHER excuse so I would simply go away. After I obtained all the state permits I needed, he said we could do business if I completed all the county environmental requirements, county zoning requirements, county building inspections, and fire marshal inspection. Then he ignored my phone calls and Email inquiries for months while he worked on what his next excuse would be.

In summary, you and I – WE – must find a way to roll back county rules, regulations, ordinances, etc. when Chatham County employees overreach. One Chatham County employee told me, “I don’t make the laws. I enforce them.” But wait. THEY DO NOT just enforce them. THEY INTERPRET THE LAWS AND ENFORCE THEM according to the FOUR PRIORITIES above and sometimes WAY BEYOND what other counties interpret and enforce.

My next post(s) will clearly describe examples where Chatham County employees have interpreted state laws in ways that overreach. Chatham County residents and citizens have heavier burdens placed on us by Chatham County employees who interpret those laws in ways that other counties do not.

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We must find a way to roll back county rules and regulations when Chatham County employees overreach

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