Cooperation ‘rule of five,’ must carry the day
David Barkemeyer
Milam County Judge

My pr imar y object ive in these articles has been to try to keep you informed on what goes on in county government.

As Sergeant Friday used to say, “I just want to give you the facts”, and let you draw your own conclusions.

Yeah, sure, I wish it were that easy. But I do want to be open with information and have attempted to describe our various operations as I’ve learned more about them myself.

But some things that really have a lot to do with the effectiveness of county government (or lack thereof) are really very subjective.

Take for example cooperation. By design the units of county government are very independent of each other. The Texas Constitution was written such that each county elected official answers only to the voters of the county.

The other elected officials do not answer to me, the county judge, they answer directly to the voters.

The commissioners court makes certain decisions as a group but each commissioner acts independently when it comes to their own precinct.

We set the budget for each department but then each elected official—the sheriff for example who controls almost half of the general fund expenditures— is free to spend up to the limit that has been set for them whether the revenue is actually collected and available during the year or not. And so it goes.

That’s where cooperat ion comes in, and we’ve got it in spades in Milam County.

The elected of f icials and department heads to a person work together with me to control our government as I’ve been reporting to you these past two years.

That’s what cooperation is all about, working together even when the system doesn’t demand it of them.

When I became county judge I was told about the “rule of three”. The “rule of three” says if the judge can get two commissioners to vote with him, he can control the county. Three out of five wins, right?.

Well, I don’t buy that rule at all, because if you’ve got two that haven’t bought in to what you want to do, so they very likely aren’t going to cooperate.

So I believe in the “rule of five”, you’d better get all five to buy in or you’re very likely going to have problems getting things accomplished. In other words, you’ve got to have everyone’s cooperation to be successful.

In Milam County our four JP’s work that way, our constables work that way, our commissioners work that way on road work sharing equipment, etc., our law enforcement groups, county fire departments, all must cooperate to be successful.

Cooperation does not recognize political parties, ethnic differences, Little Rivers, past wrongs, or whatever. Yes, I know, now I’m preaching.

Here’s the deal though, regardless of what’s gone on in the past, let’s all just do what we can to work together to make Milam County a better place to live.

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2013-03-21 digital edition

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