As 27 Department Directors (John Shore was not there) and additional staff looked on, the Board of Commissioners called a (30 minute)--10 minute recess and then voted 6-5 for the FY 05-06 budget. They had a spirited "in an intoxicated kind of way" (haha) debate about whether all Department Heads would have to come to the podium and plead their case against 5% or 10% cuts.
While ready, I believe many Department Heads didn't relish the thought 'mixing it up' with Republicans or Democrats on the Board. You know, kinda like the result of 'mixing up' those 1/2 breed kitty and cougar pets that were on tv a few weeks ago. On tv everyone 'ssaayyss' they're a great combination, but you wonder whether your fingers and toes will become a 12 piece value meal if you pet them or they have to approach the podium. I watched those senior county employees look toward the dias for over an hour with a sort of stoic and staid, no... annoyingly patient, no-bewildered, hmmn, no wait, nervously constipated, well, let's say...
"awestruck inglyi'dratherbemedicallyprobedorworsebuti'mokwithitcauseicouldbeupthere" ehhrr, ....... kind of look.
ASIDE: My thoughts drifted to children of all ages who paid a dollar to view the world's smallest horse at the Greensboro fair last year. As I watched them circle above the shrunken tunnel their faces were chisled with a look like ...was it really a horse or dog, or huh, a dog with a horse suit on?? The Department Head/Fair-goer eyes all carried the common volitile conviction of not quite being able to peg the complexity and absurdity of the situation presented before them..
I immediately had a bi-polar moment. First polar: Yeah my heart goes out to you my fellow Department Director. .. I wanted to say, "Hey, I understand your feelings, things are glum chums, but perservere my friends. Second polar: But wait, drifting subconsciously, my eyes are now looking from my former seat behind those mahogney grand stands with my old friends looking back to these new friends I call my own and my seat in the audience. I settled down. Yes, I know what it's like being up there as a commissioner. Oh, my people. (You know, my people like relatives you don't see much but have a soft spot for. And yes, even the Republicans on the Board too.)
I could not deny the emotion. Empathy.... Yes, empathy. I felt it for everyone, audience, staff, department heads, taxpayers, even the commissioners who are today receiving the letters and calls that come with their duties. One of my favorite letters after a budget vote was as follows: "You suck...please quit. Signed, A constituent".
Well.... the distant light appeared through the stormy clouds as JD Rowland and his Budget Analysts disappeared into the dark halls of the Courthouse about 5 minutes into the recess. Only the most seasoned eye caught this vanishing act and it was immediately brought to my attention as we anxiously gushed upon their re-emergence. Hope, yes hope. With the waive of a magic wand, a budget appearith under the arms of Dr. J.D. (with motion!) We are saved...my friends.
I must share two memorable moments after the motion was made. First, Trudy summoned BJ to the podium and mentioned that he could cut an additional $150,000 from his budget. I can only imagine what went through BJ's mind at that moment. "Gee, thanks for the head's up, my Republican friend". haha. I think Paul Gibson for a brief moment thought, "Does Trudy really want us to add that cut to the budget motion?" And second, Billy, the REAL veternarian on the Board. "The philosophy of these Democrats on this board is as reversed as a dog barking out its rear".
Well, last night is over. I have a budget. A new day has dawned. The Register of Deeds office has some work to do.