As I get ready to celebrate another birthday, I want to say thank you to my friends, colleagues and loved ones for being such amazing people in my life. I am a blessed man and know that I am even better of a person because of the relationships I have with each of you. You all accept me, embrace me, tolerate me, encourage me, challenge me and even sometimes love me. As I look over my life and my many experiences, I am truly humbled by the friendships and relationships I have. So thank you for being there for me!! Never feel like I am too busy to send me a note, call me, schedule a lunch or coffee or invite yourself along for some fun…I promise, I’ve always got time for people I care about. Love y’all!! Maxx
April 16, 2013
News and politics, On My Mind - Off My Chest, Uncategorized accounting, auditor, budget, Consultant, county commissioners, county council, Delaware County, democrat, finances, jobs, Muncie, Muncie Indiana, politics, republican, taxes, thestarpress.com, treasurer 2 Comments
I’m somewhat disappointed to hear that the Delaware County Commissioners hired a consulting firm for the purpose of developing a “comprehensive financial plan.” I only have an article from The Star Press as my source for this information. However, the essence of hiring an outside accounting firm because “we need to get into better habits” is beyond comprehension to me. I am also confused at why you would hire a consultant, give them a deadline and then establish committees to work on the “problem” in the meantime.
Why hire a consultant?
I went to the Delaware County website and copied the following information by clicking departments on the main page and clicking on the specific departments. These departments list as their assigned duties…
Auditor: Other responsibilities include…and overseeing the county payroll, budget and finances.
Commissioners: The Board of Commissioners of Delaware County consists of three elected people who serve together much like a city mayor but do so primarily over the unincorporated areas of the County. The County Commissioners are responsible for the administration of County business and may enact ordinances and resolutions as established by state law. In addition to performing executive duties, the County Commissioners also exercise many of the legislative powers and duties of the county.
County Clerk: …and serve as chief financial officer for all revenues collected on behalf of the court
County Council: The seven-member council appropriates all funds for county use, adopts the county budget, fixes the county tax rate, and has exclusive power to borrow money for the county.
County Treasurer: is responsible for collecting county taxes, other taxes required by state law and special assessments. The Treasurer’s Office has custodial and investment responsibilities for taxes and other revenues collected.
Don’t we already pay someone to do this?
In just reading that simple information, there are five different departments with a combined 13 individuals plus support staff with specific paid responsibilities of overseeing, administering, accounting and/or collecting finances for the County. Additionally, almost every department, board or commission in the county has a person or persons who have specific duties to account for and administer funds.
So, why do we need another study?
Finally and most troubling for me is that Muncie and Delaware County have an awesome trend in hiring consultants or commissioning studies that rarely, if ever, have actual follow-through based on the results or recommendations of those reports.
The Delaware County Council and Board of Commissioners have a primary responsibility of developing and approving a budget and then administering the county within means of that budget.
April 13, 2013
(Saw this on facebook and wanted to share it. don’t know who wrote it.)
When I was a kid, my Mom liked to make breakfast food for dinner every now and then. I remember one night in particular when she had made breakfast after a long, hard day at work. On that evening so long ago, my Mom placed a plate of eggs, sausage and extremely burned biscuits in front of my dad. I remember waiting to see if anyone noticed!
All my dad did was reach for his biscuit, smile at my Mom and ask me how my day was at school. I don’t remember what I told him that night, but I do remember watching him smear butter and jelly on that ugly burned biscuit. He ate every bite of that thing…never made a face nor uttered a word about it!
When I got up from the table that evening, I remember hearing my Mom apologize to my dad for burning the biscuits. And I’ll never forget what he said, “Honey, I love burned biscuits every now and then.”
Later that night, I went to kiss Daddy good night and I asked him if he really liked his biscuits burned. He wrapped me in his arms and said, “Your Mom put in a hard day at work today and she’s real tired. And besides–a little burned biscuit never hurt anyone!”
As I’ve grown older, I’ve thought about that many times. Life is full of imperfect things and imperfect people.
I’m not the best at hardly anything, and I forget birthdays and anniversaries just like everyone else. But what I’ve learned over the years is that learning to accept each other’s faults and choosing to celebrate each other’s differences is one of the most important keys to creating a healthy, growing, and lasting relationship.
We could extend this to any relationship. In fact, understanding is the base of any relationship, be it a husband-wife or parent-child or friendship!
“Don’t put the key to your happiness in someone else’s pocket–keep it in your own.”
So, please pass me a biscuit, and yes, the burned one will do just fine.
April 2, 2013
Misc, Uncategorized Children, Citizenship, flag, Liberty, Moment of Prayer, One Nation Under God, Parents, Pledge, Pledge of Allegiance, Respect, school, Tradition, Under God, United States Leave a comment
I attended elementary school in the 80′s and each morning before school started, everyone paused, stood up, faced the flag and recited the pledge of allegiance. This of course was followed by a moment of silence. During those years, I can never remember a single student that refused to stand for the pledge. Don’t get me wrong, there were classmates that didn’t want to do it sometimes…but none of them even considered it an option not to stand.
Then something happened. Over the next few years parents started telling children not to stand for the pledge. I knew this was happening in other areas of the country, but I finally started witnessing it first-hand in my own community and schools. Children were being told not to pledge allegiance to anything. Or they were being told we don’t believe in God in our house so don’t go to school and say the pledge. A variety of reasons and excuses were being used. As a result, children would walk into their classrooms, plop down and refuse to acknowledge a time-honored, sacred tradition.
History and the Pledge have enjoyed an interesting battle. Originally written by a minister, WITHOUT the words “under God,” the Pledge was created in order to foster citizenship among youth in the late 1800′s. It wasn’t until 1942 that Congress even officially recognized the pledge. There were already court cases declaring the requirement to recite it as unconstitutional. So in 1943 the Supreme Court ruled that students did not have to recite the pledge. However, it wasn’t even until 1954 that “under God” was added to the pledge. The pledge has been changed three times since it was originally written. Interesting fact also that the original “Bellamy Salute” was changed to a simple hand over the heart because of its perceived resemblance to the Nazi Salute.
So, should students be required to recite the pledge? If so, what words are appropriate? What causes more harm to our students, schools and country? My biggest concern as I have watched this unfold over the past [almost 30] years is that two things have been lost or missed among our children.
1. Children (and some parents) have learned the power of insubordination. The power a child has to sit and do whatever he or she wants while a teacher stands helplessly by is damaging for a teacher/student relationship. The first few minutes of any class are the most critical for the success of that entire period. This is true in work, as professionals, in college, in entertainment, movies and even reading books. If you can’t effectively grab someone’s attention, command authority, or peak their interest within a few laudable seconds, you’ve lost them practically for good. So back to the pledge where a student walks into a classroom, sits down and tunes out the teacher and his or her classmates without any fear of retribution. It’s not a good recipe for success in the classroom. This, to me, is a direct correlation to the start of lack of respect for teachers and authority in general.
2. Citizenship is perhaps as important to me as the respect piece. My simple response to people who refuse to recite the pledge has always been: “People have given their lives fighting for hour right not to stand…you should stand simply in honor of them.” Whether or not the individuals that wrote and adopted the pledge were extreme in their passion for the flag and allegiance to something greater than themselves is a whole different discussion. The values, however, that are instilled in our youth are powerful. Recognizing daily that our freedoms are not free. Pledging daily to do their part to make their country a better place. Reflecting on those that have fought, struggled and died in our country’s history.
So, as I summarize my thoughts, I can’t help but share how I got started on this. I was frustrated about what I thought was a big issue with “under God” being a focal point in the pledge. As I did my research I was surprised to learn more than half of the pledge’s history has existed without its reference to God. I was also surprised to learn that its first court challenge came before “under God” was even added.
I don’t know that we will ever have a pledge that will be accepted by everyone. Even though our pledge has been changed numerous times, any propositions will face a fierce battle today. I feel there will always be people who will fight pledging allegiance to anything.
Do you recite the pledge? Have you been told not to recite the pledge, or instructed others to not recite it? I’m interested in hearing your thoughts.
December 30, 2012
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,500 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.
November 22, 2012
On Thanksgiving families, friends, loved ones and even strangers gather around dinner tables all over the country. This holiday, uniquely celebrated by us as Americans, is focused on giving thanks and sharing love…and of course eating. Most of us, through prayer, letters, tweets or phone calls share those things that we are most thankful for.
As I considered what to be thankful for, I was overwhelmed. I am continually amazed at my life and all of the blessings I am continually afforded. I stopped to consider what does it really mean to give thanks and how do I even do that.
To give thanks…in its most basic meaning is an expression of appreciation or gratitude or an acknowledgment of services or favours given. It means to go to the source of that gift, grace or gesture and express sincere gratefulness. Furthermore, synonymous to “thanks” are the ideas of indebtedness, obligation, and beholden to.
This really pushes me to consider how to process my thanksgiving and how to properly express it. As a son, brother, nephew, uncle, friend, mentor, godfather, and soldier…this is truly humbling and daunting task. Creating a list is the easy part, but giving thanks isn’t about creating a list. It’s about the expression of gratitude.
So how do you acknowledge indebtedness and obligation to individuals that aren’t sitting at your dinner table, or reading your tweets, or on the other end of the phone call? How do you express thanks, for example, to those that gave their lives for us to celebrate this holiday as free Americans? Or our ancestors that paved the way for us? Soldiers that are sitting in dangers way right now defending our freedom? Emergency workers and first responders on duty right now? Inventors and scientists come and gone? Leaders past and present?
There is so much to be thankful for. My “list” is long. My challenge this year is to discover how to make an acceptable attempt at expressing my gratitude.
Enjoy your holiday, time with family and the traditions new and old that come with it.