2013 Year End and New Year 2014 Newsletter from Brian

2013 YEAR END AND NEW YEAR 2014 NEWSLETTER FROM BRIAN

January 7, 2014

Happy New Year Y’All,

The year of my life 2013 was a great learning experience, a definite and drastic change of life, and one of the lowest saddest times in my life.

2014 has started out as the saddest time of my life and the most frustrating, but also the busiest and most fulfilling start to a new year.

I will explain as you sit back and relax. Please grab a cup of coffee or tea, a soda, or other choice of beverage and a snack to satisfy your craving and sit back with the lighted screen of your computer shining in your face and be either bored to tears or take a journey with me through some blood pressure elevating experiences from your newbie elected commissioner. After all, at least some of you did help put me in this position.

I will start with last year and work into the new year and then work backwards to 2013 which will allow me to get through it, emotionally.

In 2013, we did accomplish much. We did many things to improve and be more transparent in our area of government. We have been told that we did more in one year than most have done in a 4 year terms. I feel really good about that. My first and primary goal for my newbie year was to stop the virtual spin of government here in Johnson County and move us in a positive direction forward. We made great gains in that area. We did get the new and improved Shooting Range 90% done. We will have to wait until spring to re-grade and plant the proper grass seed for the range area and ivy for the hillsides. We will try to get the fence in yet this winter, but it may be spring also. We got all of our pricing done, bidding awards, and permits in place to start the new 911 Center. We were ready to start in December, then, we all know what happened. It snowed, it rained, it flooded, it snowed again, and we are now waiting on the ground to dry or freeze.

We ended the year of 2013 with a flood of sorts. This was an amazing learning experience and was considered in the realm of the flood of 2008. They both were frightening and show us just how little control we have over any matters of creation. We had to go to Emergency Status and I was called into the Emergency Operations Center for the weekend. It was an amazing experience, but a very dangerous and frightening experience. I have been a participant in the lack of sleep many times in my life and under much stress, but this little jaunt took the cake. We survived it, but it did come with a cost. We spent much time and many man hours helping people to safety. Our Public Safety Officers, (Police, Fire, EMT’s) and County Government Personnel were put in harm’s way many times and unfortunately many times due to people not utilizing good common sense practices. I saw what I thought was the best in people and the worst in people. But, again, we survived, a little damaged and much frustrated but it went in the win column for how we responded and prevailed.

We will be starting construction on the New Johnson County Office Building, which will be called the East Annex, formerly known as the Key Bank building, in the next few weeks. The New Court System in the North Annex building will start shortly thereafter. The scheduled completion for both will be October 31, 2014. We have to be in and up and running by January 1, 2015.

January 6, 2014, the snow began. I came into the EOC as the snow started falling. By late evening the decision was made to go to Watch Level, then shortly after we went to Warning level to keep traffic off the roads. By the way, until the snow we had a few weeks ago, I was not aware that the Commissioner(s) made the decision on Travel Advisory Levels. This was another part of this job of which I was unaware. I will be writing a manual for whoever takes this torch from me, so that whoever that is will have some foreknowledge of the requirements of this position. I wish I was aware prior to my posterior end getting wet. We received complaints due to restricting the roads from many at this time, especially employers. I was up and conscience for the whole process of Sunday and Monday operating from the EOC.

The decision was made to take the Travel Advisory to Watch from Warning at 5:30 p.m. Monday evening. This Warning Level was put into place, in my mind and decision process, to allow the Highway Department more freedom to work on the roads in a more efficient and safer protocol. My desire was not to restrict the free movement of any individual. I knew people would make the necessary decisions regardless of the level anyway. I did not want to keep the highest Travel Restricting Level in place any longer than I felt necessary. This level- lowering started the complaints from those who wanted it to remain at the Warning Level. Complaints started coming in that employees were not able to get to work, but employers were requiring it due to the restriction being lowered, and so on. I got that to a point, but I will now explain my position on the thought process from my mental capacity. I am giving you the short version of a very long process that spanned over many hours. And again, our Police, Fire, EMT, and all emergency personnel were put into life threatening danger helping those in need. Please pray for them or at least appreciate their heart to serve and protect us. They put their own lives and the welfare of their families on the line to serve, protect, and save our lives.

I still believe in the human being and the intelligence that has been God given to His creation. I will always stand on the principle of allowing the individual person to have the freedom to make his or her own decision in his or her own free will instead of allowing the government to do that for us. I will never give into the false notion or idea that we are not intelligent enough or responsible enough to make our own way and make the right decisions in our lives for us and those we love and for which we are accountable. I refuse to allow those who would try to beat us down and mold us into these little robots of depression and control to do so, where I can stand and fight for the freedom to do for ourselves. If there are employers out there who do not care about the safety of their employees, shame on them. If there are employees who want to use the system to not go to work, shame on them. But why would we punish all for a few who do not take accountability for themselves. There are many people who can get out and safely get to where they need to go. They can make that decision. There are those who cannot get to where they want or need and that decision needs to be for them to make. I will always err on the side of the freedom of people to make their own decisions. It is who I am. I will always consider all people in Johnson County on any decision. I will pray and consider scripture for all decisions to be made. God knows those decisions that I need to make quickly. He will provide. I depend on Him. I will not waiver on that blessing and the hope that He provides to me. Please stand with me in fighting to keep our freedom as individuals. Do not let those who would try to bring us into a corral of control be successful. Be free, stay free, live free, but do it under the eyes of the One who created all things. Do it for the right and true reasons. Be accountable to who you are as a person and creation. Be loyally responsible for those you love and love you. Strive to be who God wants you to be. Strive to do what He would have you to do. He will bless you for it. You will have peace in knowing He is your strength and your future.

I realize this is a long Newsletter, but I may not write one for a while, so please have patience with me. I have saved the hard part of this Newsletter for last.

Some of you may already know and some may not, that we lost Ruger to cancer at 8 young years of life. Ruger was not only our police K-9, he was our much loved mascot to the schools, he was part of our family, and he was my best friend. Ruger was a Certified Search and Recovery Canine for the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office. He was the main attraction for our Youth Assistance/Crime Prevention Programs, as the beloved and famed mascot who was touched by many kids and who touched many kids’ lives. I started counting the children and adults that were touched by this wonderful loving family member and it went well into the hundreds of thousands before I stopped. I didn’t need any further proof of the usefulness and reason for existence of his life. God gave him to us. He served the people his entire life. His first home was in my squad, which is where he passed away with Beth and me with him. He was more comfortable there and in the schools than anywhere. He was most comfortable loving and pleasing people, especially children. He was very gentle around younger children. It was like God gave him a special sense and ability to know. He was a truly amazing Canine, but more than that, he was my best buddy, my best friend, and a loved family member to us. I am not able to say why he was taken at such a young age. I am struggling with that.

Ruger passed away on Christmas Day of 2013. He was born August 1, 2005. It was absolutely the worst day of my life, and I have had some bad ones. The bad days previous to this came out okay in the end. This one has not. I have had some really sad and bad days since, but I am praying about it. There is a hole in my heart that will never be filled. He will be missed by many, but not like I will miss him.
I hope to have his memory live on as we continue to accomplish our safety programs for many schools and organizations. I know it will never be the same and I am not sure what day I will stop grieving and crying, but I am certain that God knows and will provide those answers He thinks I need and deserve. I also know that I will see many loved ones who have gone from this world someday soon. In that I know I will see my buddy Ruger again too. I just know that God loves me like no one can and He knows how much I love Ruger. I know in my hope of who my God is that He will allow me this blessing, because He loves me and wants to give me the things of my heart. God is good all the time, not because He does good things, but because He is God! There are areas in our website that will give you more on Ruger and the Sheriff’s Office Website may still have a memorial for him if you want to go there. Johnsoncountysheriff.com is that website, which also has a page for our YA/CP programs also.

I will stop there.

I am thankful for all those who have supported me in my new endeavor as Commissioner. I will continue to do my best for all those who are trusting in me. I am hopeful that you will allow me to show you my heart without being judgmental of my ability to serve. I am willing, able, and driven to do the best I can for you in any way that I am able. I will be the first to tell you when that is not my heart, if and when that would be so. Until then, I carry on serving you as a people and serving a Righteous and Holy God as His creation.

Thank you for your time, and if you made it to the end, thank you for caring.
Come enjoy one of our public meetings. They have become entertaining, according to some.

God Bless,

Brian

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