Saturday, January 18, 2014
© Copyright 2014
Gwinnett Daily Post
Charlotte Nash began her State of the County address this week by saying that people ask if she gets nervous before having to speak in front of such a large crowd. She harkened back to her days in 4-H and tips the late Wayne Shackelford gave her on how to best handle the situation.
She credited Shackelford for his good advice, but when it comes to giving speeches one thing trumps all — relaying good news is easier than talking about bad. That was evident during Nash’s latest address. A year after addressing the corruption scandals that had plagued the Board of Commissioners before her election, the chairwoman was able to look forward rather than back.
In last year’s speech, Nash said she wanted to “turn the page” on the past ordeals. This year she was able to do that, with some good economic news giving her the chance to deliver a speech heavy on the positive. The improving economy made it possible for the county to reinstate raises to its employees — a move that no doubt has increased her popularity among staffers — and it also allowed her to fire up the crowd with the news that the county’s tax digest is expected to grow for the first time in five years.
That, along with having its ethics problems in the rearview mirror, gives Nash and the county a chance to be more proactive vs. reactive.
“While it will take a while to recoup the 20 percent drop in value we’ve seen, forecasts show steady recovery over the next several years — enough anyway to allow us to focus once again on long-range planning and implementation,” Nash said.
That outlook doesn’t guarantee that there will be nothing but smooth sailing in the year ahead, but it does suggest a light at the end of the tunnel. And that is more than we can say about recent years.
It’s a nice change to start a year off with some optimism, a sentiment Nash no doubt shares. Because when it comes to being the messenger, a good message is a treasured commodity.