Updated: Feb 21
Editorial by Chad Hobbs:
At the February Fiscal Court meeting, one of the items on the agenda was a change to the Personal Policy and Procedure Manual involving advertising for employment opportunities in departments under the Meade County Fiscal Court’s umbrella.
“Be advised, advertising online on the county website, and any other sites, as deemed as necessary. Change it to that,” stated Judge/Executive Gerry Lynn. “…and the other one was just one we came up with as far as advertising to try to get the biggest market of people that would be available to turn in applications as far as working for the county.”
Before the amendment was voted on, a citizen in the audience inquired, “Can I ask a question? So, you’re not going to put it in the Messenger anymore, where it reaches more people in the county?”
“As it is, you reach a lot more people putting it online,” responded Judge Lynn.
“Our county is kind of poor. Online really doesn’t reach well around this county. Are you trying to target certain people other than people who are low income?” the citizen inquired.
The Judge said that they felt that “internet advertising pretty well covers the whole gamut of the population spread in Meade County.”
“Well what about low income people that can’t afford internet? So, they don’t have equal opportunity to apply for a job here?”
“I haven’t seen too many people not have a cell phone, period,” the Judge pushed back. “I mean, I think they’ll almost have that before they have food in the house.”
The conversation continued with another citizen pointing out the poor reception in areas of the county such as Little Bend, Big Bend, Rhodelia and Wolf Creek along with the lack of broad band in many of these areas as well.
As the Judge continued to explain the justification for online advertising, he was asked, “What made you all research into this? What made you all delete the paper out of this?”
“It’s no particular one reason or another,” Lynn stated.
In my own humble opinion, there is but one reason the Judge has taken this step. It is political pettiness at its finest. Though it will never be publicly pronounced, I don’t think it takes too much deep pondering from anyone who has been following our paper, as of late, to come to a reasonable conclusion as to why the Judge has decided to finally embrace an internet advertising angle to announce employment opportunities. It is surely not because it’s the latest rage, and if so, he missed that boat by at least several years.
I am all for the County using Facebook to post employment opportunities. To be honest, I’m honored that we helped the Judge take this small leap into the 21st century and puzzled why it took so long. With that being said, his motivation appears to be anything but honorable.
When a public servant turns to revenge instead of improvement, everyone loses. Some local leaders seem to be more content with attempting to strangle us financially into submission versus standing tall and silencing our critiques by simply doing the right thing.
I, for one, greatly appreciate anyone who spends their hard earned money to support this paper by either advertising or subscribing, and like all the staff here at the Meade County Messenger, I have nothing but gratitude for everyone in both of those categories, as it is what ultimately puts food on my son’s plate. I also understand that because I have not been afraid to tackle tough topics in my articles that some people are not happy with that fact.
The government of this county is not a private company, however, and just because the Judge doesn’t like some of the things that have been written about him, he doesn’t have a right to make the people of Meade County suffer at the expense of his attempted “pay back” to the Messenger.
As several citizens brought up at that meeting, many people in this county do not have the means to keep up with everything online. In fact, Representative Nancy Tate has stated many times publicly that this is supposedly a “welfare county.” Yet the Judge/Executive has the gall to sit on his throne with an almost six figure a year salary in his wallet, look down at the people of this county, and state that he believes all his constituents not only have a cellphone and internet service, but they would pass up food in their house just to get it.
Well Judge Lynn, for 41 years now, I have crawled, toddled, walked, and eventually ran across the hills and hollers of this fine county. In that time I’ve had the great honor of getting to know its people over the years, from the northern tips of the Bends, all the way down to Big Spring on its southern edge, and I assure you, that is one of the most pompous, entitled statements I have ever heard come out of a Meade County elected official’s mouth. There are a whole lot of people in this county that would love to have the food you speak of, but their lack thereof is not because they are passing it up for phones, as you so inelegantly ascertained.
I find it sadly ironic that our new neighbors at Nucor, who by the way, have no doubt done far more advertising research than anyone in the Judge’s office has ever done, chose to run employment ads in the paper at the same time our own Fiscal Court decided to pull away. I am thankful to Mr. Jacobs and Nucor for not only supporting our paper and our livelihoods, but also for offering our loyal subscribers the opportunity to find employment with their company, if they so choose.
You see, aside from some ill formed assumptions by our detractors, neither the farmers or our paper have ever been anti-Nucor or anti-growth. We have posed hard questions, fought to protect our own, but it is our government’s handling of the deal that has always been the issue. We aren’t one sided. We just also tell the neglected side, not just the government side, and let our readers decide whose truth is their truth.
I know many people without internet. I know many people with internet without Facebook. I also know many people with Facebook who don’t follow the Fiscal Court page in this county. So please don’t tell me that research shows a Fiscal Court FB page is the best and only way to reach high schoolers to work the concession stands this summer. I promise you that they are not reading what you are posting. A good majority of that group probably isn’t paying attention to the paper either, but someone in their family is. They may just pass along the word, if we are both working together to give them the chance to find out about an employment opportunity.
This paper isn’t dividing the county; childish, petty politics is. Between walk-ins, calls, letters, cards, and just conversations in general, I promise you we have our fingers on the pulse of the vast majority of this county. Many of them are tired of a handful of public servants acting more like tyrants than defenders of our great democracy and county. Quite frankly, I am as well. We don’t elect kings. We elect servants, and we expect them to work with everyone for the greater good of all, not just a select few who agree to be “yes men.”
I do not come from a traditional journalistic background, so I march to a different beat. I can write, however, and I know and love this county and its fine people from the richest of the rich to the poorest of the poor. I will defend everyone of them until my end. So, the ball now lies in the political court. Choose to continue the course some of you are on, and I will continue to paint the ugly picture you provide me with. Choose to stand tall, give up on the political pettiness, and be true servants of the public like you were elected or appointed to do, and I will gladly move on to writing about greener pastures. Just know that until the latter is chosen over the former, I will not put on the rose colored glasses a few want to force me to wear.