Priorities ignored

June 24, 2009 

At its June 15 meeting to determine the 2009-10 budget, the Wake Board of Commissioners rejected by a 4-3 vote my motion to reprioritize the proposed county manager's budget. By selected cuts in construction spending and operations, the $5.6 million cut from the previous year in the Human Services budget would be restored.

Consider this excerpt from the May 29 N&O: "At 1 a.m. Wednesday, there were 11 people in Wake's crisis center awaiting involuntary commitment to a mental hospital, but there was nowhere to send them. ... The clients waiting included psychotic and suicidal adults, as well as adolescents. One individual need to be restrained in handcuffs. Though extra police officers were called in to help, administrators determined that it wouldn't be safe to let more patients into the building."

The $5.6 million for restoring the cut in the Human Services budget could have been used to pay for more beds at a local psychiatric hospital and prevent a repetition of this event.

I am outraged that at no point in the budget discussion did the commissioners board come to grips with prioritizing both the operating and construction budgets. Think about whether those turned away by Wake County had been your children, your friends or your family.

Stan Norwalk

Wake County Commissioner

Raleigh

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service