The Ray County Commission deserves a pat on the back.
If they deserved a kick in the rump, we would not hesitate to say that, too.
But no need for a butt-kicking at the moment. Nope. Just a genuine “atta boy.”
The commissioners are facing major issues head-on and astutely. Three of those issues involving flooding, neglected facilities and opioids.
Regarding early- and late-spring flooding, commissioners have worked together and with others to help alleviate problems in Ray County. They worked at the federal level with U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II and with Federal Emergency Management Agency officials. They worked at the state level with Gov. Mike Parson and State Emergency Management Agency officials. They worked within the county with levee and road district leaders, and with leaders from affected communities.
The commission joined in and sometimes took the lead on setting up meetings with disaster agency providers, individuals and officials from flood-affected government entities. Doing so represents public service of the highest caliber.
In “their own house,” county officials and service providers have for years needed to pay attention to the condition of facilities. The new carpeting is a needed moral-booster for some offices, but providing new doors for other offices addressed significant safety and security issues that for too long had been ignored. Also ignored had been an antiquated financial program – one so old that the county actually had to pay a firm thousands of dollars annually to handle the county’s payroll.
Among other needs being addressed by this commisision is the lack of a walk-in freezer at the Eagleton Center. Without a freezer, the center had nowhere to store meat to give to the county’s needy. The commission agreed to buy a freezer. People will benefit.
Asking questions is easy, but trying to provide real answers to the opioid problems that face Ray County is so difficult that leaders in many other counties have failed to address the issue at all. The Ray County Commission has researched the issue for more than a year.
Last week, they heard from another law firm about how the county could sue opioid makers for addiction-related losses in this county. Commissioners did more than listen. They made sure the lawyers understood this county would pay nothing in legal expenses. Nothing. Also, if the case is won, then the county would take at least 75 percent of the settlement. They further emphasized no one in Ray County would be sued.
The commission now has two contracts to consider. When both are in hand and compared side by side, commissioners will decide whether to go forward with a lawsuit. Or not.
Commissioners Bob King, Allen Dale and Jerry Bishop are doing a good job. If you see them, tell them so.