The Cullman Times
The idea of establishing councils of government across the state of Alabama many years ago was not a bad idea.
The purpose of these organizations, such as the North-central Alabama Regional Council of Governments (NARCOG) was to effectively handle the intricacies of vital programs for senior citizens, provide a forum for local governments to examine common issues and plan for growth in specific regions of the state. The flaw in the establishment of these councils was the presence of too many politicians under one roof.
NARCOG’s shortcomings over the past year have not been because of unqualified employees or lack of purpose. They have effectively delivered valuable programs for seniors, made a few good moves to help the region’s economy, and generally performed well in all areas of their duties. The problem has been political maneuvering by the elected officials who serve as the governing body of NARCOG. Struggles over who would direct the organizations boiled down to territorial disputes, mainly between Cullman and Morgan County officials.
The consequence as been governments pulling out of the organization and attempting to join other councils of local government. But even greater concern is that the malfunction of this organization threatens to endanger the orderly and efficient delivery of programs to seniors. The loss of effective regional planning is also on the plate of concern.
Gov. Robert Bentley wants the organization to solve its differences and get back to serving the needs of the region. His wish is simple enough and could easily be accomplished.
Instead of imitating the ineffectiveness of Congress, where no one gives an inch for the sake of the nation, NARCOG’s leadership, which includes a few new faces, should respect the people of the region by reaching a few easy compromises where the power structure is concerned. Whether Morgan County or Cullman County has one more vote than the other should be of little consequence where NARCOG’s mission is concerned.