WTVM Editorial 3/17/17: Muscogee County Sheriff's Office audit

MUSCOGEE COUNTY, GA (WTVM) – One of the most important and unsung responsibilities of a business owner or an elected official is keeping expenses in line with the money you receive or create to run your enterprise.

It's called fiscal responsibility.

There's nothing exciting about budgeting and money management. It's easy to let costs and unexpected expenses balloon out of control if you don't pay attention.

Careful budgeting isn't just smart, it makes businesses or government run better.

The recent audit of former Muscogee County Sheriff John Darr's tenure in office revealed an amazing $13 million expense overrun. It didn't have to happen.

Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson urged Sherriff Darr to hire someone to manage the sheriff's office budget but he declined.

Anyone might think that fighting crime and catching criminals seems a lot more interesting than managing money, as most people might agree.

But it doesn't mean you have to make one choice over the other.

New Sheriff Donna Tompkins has already hired a financial manager who successfully worked with former Sheriff Ralph Johnson to keep the Muscogee County Sheriff's office stay within its budget for years before Darr was elected.

In our personal lives and in the business world we can't spend more money than we make without serious consequences, like bankruptcy or having to lay off workers.

It should be even more of a priority for elected officials entrusted with taxpayer money to avoid wasting any of that money earned by the sweat and struggle of everyday citizens.

So far, it seems like Sheriff Tompkins understands the obligations of fiscal responsibility in the Sheriff's Office and is on the right track to managing the budget.

General Manager Holly Steuart brings two editorials a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to hsteuart@wtvm.com or write to:

WTVM Editorial Committee

1909 Wynnton Road

Columbus, GA 31906

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