The Newman Bailout

Banks, auto makers, AIG. Locally, developers Mark Matlock, Tetra, Ed Loy. Seems everybody is looking for the tax payers to bail them out of their poor decisions. Now even a local government agency is looking for a bailout.

The Loudon County Planning Office is broke. Planning director, Russ Newman spent all of his reserves and his budget and is now back asking for another $20,000.00 to get him through this fiscal year.

For the last several years with all the construction and development taking place in our county, the planning office has had a lot of fee revenues coming in. Their budget has continue to grow with the revenues. The 2002 budget was approximately $130,000.00. The 2008 requested budget was nearly $221,000.00. This includes Newman's salary going from $54,600.00 to $67,234.00 over the same time period. 

While the money was rolling in Newman was spending away handing out raises for himself and even hiring himself  a personal assistant, Matthew, apparently not realizing that the boom time could go bust. Now the money has dried up and Newman is looking for the tax payers to bail him out of his problems.

Newman is asking the county to pay an additional $14,200.00, Lenoir City to pay an additional $3,400.00 and the City Of Loudon to pay an additional $2,400.00 just to bide him over to June. Then what?

Lenoir City has already voted to withdraw from the planning department to handle their own planning services. So right off the bat for next fiscal year, Newman will be short more than $21,000.00. Development has essentially come to a halt in Loudon County so fee collections are at an all time low.

Planning Director Russ Newman has been a disaster for Loudon County, beating the average citizen to death with useless regulations and letting his pet developers get by with anything. And now we learn that he has blown his entire annual budget in a little over six months proving even more in competency in his position.

Unlike the federal government, Loudon County does not have an unlimited supply of money to keep handing to those who have proven irresponsible. Mr. Newman should not be rewarded for his wasteful spending of tax payer's money but should be terminated.