Jeff Doran resigned as Carroll County sheriff to take a job as the City of Savanna Chief of Police. The County Board accepted his resignation, said some nice words and that's that.
How can we be so stupid? How can we let the man, who we all agree has been the best ever, leave over the issue of health benefits? Are we so poor that we can't afford family health care benefits for county employees?
The County Board mantra is, "Like a family, we have to live within our means." I've known lots of families that realized that they couldn't live within their means, that they needed more income. They took on overtime, the stay-at-home spouse went to work, perhaps part time or perhaps moved from part-time to full-time.
During my career I knew lots of teachers who worked day school, night school and summer school; others worked summer jobs: landscaping, painting or remodeling.
The county has to find ways to increase revenue. They should have raised taxes 20 years ago. They should have supported state efforts to raise taxes.
Right now, the County Board should find the few dollars necessary to pay for Jeff's health insurance and then work to make sure that all county workers have family health insurance, which means it has to raise local taxes to pay all employees' health insurance premiums.
But like school funding, this is just another example where local taxes alone simply can't pay for basic services, long term. And it's not fair to ask county employees or school teachers to pick up the burden when we can work for a more equitable state income tax.
The County Board should advocate for a progressive state income tax, an inheritance tax and a transaction tax. The board must lead for a change instead of simply saying over and over, "No, we can't afford it."
On the national scale, this is just another example of why the country so desperately needs Medicare for all. Ask the Taiwanese, the Japanese, the Australians, the Canadians or the Western Europeans and the Scandinavians. They all have national health care. They wouldn't lose a fine public employee because some place 15 miles away offers better health care benefits.
The County Board has failed all of us by not only letting Jeff resign, but also by failing to address the county's very serious revenue issues.