• Arne Mortensen

Setting the record straight - TDN article about Meals on Wheels

I’m a bit pressed for time this morning, but it is worth setting the record straight in key areas.

This morning, the TDN article, “Commissioners pass CAP's Rural Senior Meals Program grant, Mortensen reluctant” may paint a somewhat misleading picture. Here is my hasty attempt to flesh out a perspective.

  1. While the program is mentioned as meals on wheels, it is more than that, all along supplying nutrition. Plus, my discussion addressed a large (~$1.5 million) contract for developmentally disabled.

  2. Before the program was discussed and before it was put up to vote, I stated that I would support the program(s) with an ambivalence because I was not sure whether by voting for the program I was part of the problem or part of the solution. My point here is that I am not a rubber stamp, and I am serious about doing my job to bring accountability, responsibility, and transparency.

  3. I also made the statement that we are not doing well financially. I used the term “broke,” which is how I describe more money going out than coming in coupled with limited reserves upon which to draw.

  4. We, the commissioners, have been pressing staff to provide evidence that the money is being spent well and fruitfully. That led to several discussions/exchanges:

  5. After all these years, we still have no evidence. (Yet we are subjected time and again to the expression of “evidence based” programs.) Where is the evidence? This is not the first time this question has been asked.

  6. A citizen mentioned we should take care of the invisible in society. My retort: the taxpayer is the invisible person being neglected and my concern. Federal and state money are looked at as free money; the county taxpayer is looked at as an ATM.

  7. The data about overhead rates and the like are hard to follow. That data should be offered without request.

  8. The comment about free lunches requires some fleshing out for which I have no time this morning. In essence, it can be summed up as: Some programs such as fixing potholes do not beget more potholes; but programs offering free meals beget more demand for free meals.

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