Chronicle Editorial

 

Attorney change good for county

     Last week the Franklin County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved switching the county attorney from a part-time to full-time postion. Though some people may grumble over the decision, the change is indeed good for the county and the residents that call it home.

     The attorney’s part-time role has, for the most part, suited Franklin County well in the past. A relatively small population and low crime rate didn’t necessitate a full-time attorney. However, times are changing. The county has seen an increase in casework over the past few years which has consequently upped the need for a more involved attorney’s office.

     The supervisors’ decision wasn’t based solely on an increase in county-wide crime. Supervisors Jerry Plagge said numerous citizens have expressed a desire for a more thorough attorney’s office that pursues harder criminal convictions. A part-time attorney simply does not have the time or resources necessary to dedicate towards harder sentences, and this switch will help give the people what they want. Hopefully, this will lead to a decrease in crime through harsher penalties over time.

     The change will also negate the possibility of a conflict of interest within county attorney’s office. As it stands now, the attorney handles both county casework and cases within their own private practice. The potential for problems is obvious, and it’s important Franklin County has an attorney completely dedicated to casework strictly within our own borders. A full-time attorney simply creates more credibility and objectivity in the office, and canceling any chance of conflict is a step in the right direction as we move forward in the future.

     The change to a full-time attorney was a long time coming, and a lot of thought went into the decision. As noted by Supervisor Corey Eberling last week, over three-fourths of Iowa’s counties already have a full-time attorney, some of which are much smaller than Franklin County. The switch will create a more thorough office completely dedicated towards serving the county’s residents, which seems to fit the desires of the people and the needs of the office at the present time.

 

Election Day 2013

     After months of campaigning, debate and door-knocking, the Nov. 5 election is finally upon us next Tuesday. We here at the Chronicle urge Franklin County’s residents to show up in force and hit the polling places hard next week to let your voice be heard.

     Turnout at local elections is typically low for various reasons. Sometimes a lack of competition on the ballot forces these bleak numbers, but this year provides a handful of contested council and mayoral races in communities throughout the county. Citizens are also welcome to write-in a candidate if the ballot presents no suitable options for their tastes, and all avenues of participation are welcome to best represent the desires of the electorate.

     Voting in a city election is the best way for citizens to influence the policies that most directly affect them. Be it small towns like Coulter or larger ones like Hampton, the city council and mayor’s office is the closest governing body we have to us. Casting a ballot is one of the easiest things you can do to make yourself heard, and we hope all of Franklin County takes this duty seriously during next Tuesday’s election.