The Gazette’s recent story — about how unemployment payouts to laid-off Frederick County workers have taken a bite out of savings realized from the Frederick County commissioners’ outsourcing efforts — is a reminder of the man who was going to save all kinds of money on his food bill by putting in a back yard garden.
The thing is, by the time he paid to have a section of his lawn tilled, bought plants and seeds, and then had to stake up a fence to keep out the rabbits, he was left with tomatoes costing him $5 apiece and lettuce that was just as expensive — sort of takes the joy out of a BLT.
This tale of unintended consequences also brings to mind an episode of TV’s “Andy Griffith.” The actor, who died last week, was best known for his role as the sheriff of America’s favorite small town. In this particular episode, Andy, Aunt Bee, Barney and the rest of the gang were lamenting how everyone was rushing here and there, and what they sorely needed was to bring back the Sunday evening band concerts in the town square.
But, by the time they pounded together the loose boards on the bandstand, repaired the musicians’ uniforms, and tried to get the out-of-practice band in tip-top shape, everyone was ready to collapse on the front porch. So much for a relaxing summer evening.
Certainly the county commissioners’ push to save tax dollars is admirable. You might even look to the story about the gardener as an example of how — rather than doing it himself — he should have sought a better, cheaper source for his produce. Going to the local farmers market and buying his tomatoes from someone with a better business plan makes it a win for both.
Still, the point is, our elected officials need to see all sides to their actions.
Eventually those who lost their county jobs have, or will hopefully find other jobs, and the unemployment benefits have a set time when they will no longer be paid out, but will other unintended consequences surface to nip at what were thought to be savings?
We will continue to follow this story, to request the documents and records that will examine whether outsourcing and privitization efforts are hitting all the right notes, or, if they are falling as flat as barber Floyd’s tuba playing in the Mayberry town band.