This Week in Lincoln County – April 17, 2018

Over the last several weeks, the Commission office has seen an uptick in the number of calls and complaints we are receiving relating to topics that are outside our authority. Even though Missouri statutes do not grant us the broad authority that some folks perceive, frequently there is still an expectation that the Commission can somehow wield this imaginary power to make things happen the way people want them to happen. Because of this, we are going to call this week’s column, “Jesus is not a Commissioner so, please, stop expecting miracles.”

• Other elected officials – a common misconception is that the Commission has broad power over other elected officials. To the contrary, in most cases we approve their budget, set their employees’ salaries, and provide them an office; however, the manner in which they run their office is entirely their business. There is no statutory provision that allows us to withhold pay, cut or withhold budgeted funds, or remove an elected official with a simple Commission vote. So, no matter how disgusted you might be with an office holder, the Commission cannot take action against them simply because you don’t like the job they are doing. These situations need to be resolved in the voting booth. If you are unhappy with an elected official, make sure you show up on election day.
• Other government entities – the Commission has no authority over schools, municipalities, fire districts, the Health Department, public water and sewer districts, and other entities that have their own separately elected Board and revenue source. While we interact frequently with these community partners, we do not have, nor do we want, the ability to interject ourselves into their decision-making process. Again, folks need to get to the appropriate board meeting to have their voice heard and get to the ballot box.
• Ordinance making – as a 2nd class County, our ordinance making ability is limited to Public Health and Public Safety. The Commission does not have the ability to unilaterally pass ordinances such as Planning and Zoning. These decisions reside with the voters. 1st class Counties such as St. Charles, which have passed a Charter form of government (also referred to as “home rule”), have broad ordinance making abilities. Lincoln County cannot adopt a Charter until we become a 1st class County. As I have mentioned in past writings, that transition is in our near future.

That’s all I have time for now. As always, call, e-mail or stop by the Courthouse if you have questions. Until next week…

Dan Colbert
Presiding Commissioner

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