Clay County's Government Needs Good Shake-Up

Article excerpt

Byline: Ronald L. Littlepage

For you readers living in Clay County, my condolences.

Not that Clay County doesn't have charm and isn't a great place to live, it does and it is.

But lately when those of us in Jacksonville get down in the mouth about our elected officials, which is a fairly regular occurrence, all we have to do for a quick picker-upper is look to Clay County.

So you thought the good-old-boy system was dead and gone?

Wrong.

It's alive and well in Clay County, or at least it has been, according to a report released last week on a scandal that's been brewing for more than a year involving, among other questionable activities, illegal dumping.

If the report prepared by the county auditor is true, the county manager and public works director, since departed, pretty much did what they wanted. Such nuisances as rules, regulations and laws be darned, and the County Commission let them get away with it.

Corruption, intimidation, political favoritism -- it's all in the report. It's enough to warm the heart of someone who grew up in Texas, intrigued by the world-class political scandals there and, admittedly, somewhat proud.

Ever hear of Landslide Lyndon?

Last week's report also outlined a scenario that showed girls can be good old boys, too.

The report said Commissioner Christy Fitzgerald had county employees do work at her home while on county time -- a good-old-boy trick as old and smelly as Limburger cheese. …