This is too fun not to share. Someone told me I should check out the Reelect Pam Mason Facebook page because our dear Presiding Commissioner was grumpy about “negative” ads from the Jerry Nolte campaign.


Oh, that’s funny. No, I mean hilarious, to be exact. Here try this one on:


You see this was Ms. Mason’s general opponent way back in 2010. This was used in a TV ad. It was an unfair attack. I don’t agree with Ed Quick’s politics, but I’ll defend him on this one. This was a youthful indiscretion (I can’t remember exactly, but it was something like 25 years ago or more) and it had nothing to do with the Ed Quick of 2010. You might call it negative campaigning.

Oh, then there is this one from Ms. Mason’s current husband, the mighty “Amorous” Vic “Alan” Hurlbert‘s State Representative run against Noel Shull in 2012. That’s like EONS ago. Right?


You want to talk about negative! Generally speaking, I don’t know about you, but when you use a provable lie against your opponent, I think, just maybe….well, OK, probably…or…almost certainly you could call this negative campaigning.

But, hey, at least they used good grammar. You know what? I think she might have something here:

Pam Mason for Presiding Commissioner:  Fiscal Discipline*, Stellar Grammarian

*Just ignore that dwindling county reserve fund.

Oh, one more thing, it’s about the whole grammar thing. Apparently, grammar doesn’t apply on Facebook posts, just campaign mailers. Shall we review, class?

“Well, my opponent went negative today after telling people he would be positive. Sad. What is funny is that his mailer had many grammatical errors.”

Sad is an adjective. This is not a complete thought, and there is no implied subject in this situation. So, without further ado, the correct Facebook post if the Mason campaign would like to update it.

“Well, my opponent went negative today after telling people he would be positive. That is sad. What is funny is that his mailer had many grammatical errors.”

(It’s okay, I don’t hold this against Ms. Mason. I’m not voting based on grammar. We all make grammar errors every so often. I’ve made them, too. Sometimes, I even catch them after I publish Facebook and blog posts.)


Photo courtesy of winnond /

Clay County employees are fearful this week because Presiding Commissioner Pam Mason is terrorizing them with lies and misinformation yet again. This week she is scaring them about their health insurance.


In an effort to manipulate employees into pressuring Commissioner Luann Ridgeway to approve the contract for an employee benefit consultant quickly and without question, Mason has told her staff to scare County employees into believing their health insurance benefits will be cancelled if Ridgeway doesn’t approve the contract immediately.


This is not true. The County has separate, stand alone contracts with Blue Cross Blue Shield, Delta Dental and EyeMed Vision that are not at all affected by whether or not the county has a contract with Garry & Associates.


A benefit consultant is used to evaluate insurance plans offered by insurance companies and negotiate rates with them for the benefit of the company buying its employees health insurance.  They are frequently used by local governments to help ensure that citizen resources are used in the most cost effective way possible.


For several meetings now, the County Commission has had Resolution 2014-137, a contract for employee benefit consulting with Garry & Associates, on its agenda for approval. Commissioner Ridgeway has asked for more information before renewing the contract with Garry & Associates.  Ridgeway’s request is that a contract amendment be made that will allow more transparency in this agreement – and all future contracts the Presiding Commissioner signs on behalf of Clay County taxpayers.


Before Garry & Associates, the County had a contract with CBiz for employee benefit consulting. The County’s $38,500 contract with CBiz was replaced last year after a meeting that occurred behind closed doors on June 3, 2013. The replacement contract was a $90,000 contract awarded to Garry & Associates. Yes, $51,500 more than what the County was paying to CBiz for the exact same services. This year the contract with Garry & Associates is proposed to be renewed for $91,890.


This means Clay County taxpayers are paying an additional $51,500 each year for the benefit consultant alone. If citizens were saving that much or more on the amount the County pays for employee benefits, that would justify the County Commission’s decision last year to spend the extra money with Garry & Associates. However, citizens actually are paying 6% more for County employees’ health insurance this year.  This is approximately $260,000 in added costs to taxpayers on top of the $51,500.


Joshua Garry, the owner of Garry & Associates, contributed $1,000 on 9/14/12 to Gene Owen’s campaign for Commissioner and $650 on 4/9/2008.


It has cost Clay County taxpayers more than $310,000 this year to pay back yet another friend of this County Commission.

A recent report from Gallup found the following:

“Fewer Americans are satisfied with the freedom to choose what they do with their lives compared with seven years ago — dropping 12 percentage points from 91% in 2006 to 79% in 2013.”

As you celebrate our Independence Day today with family and friends, please take some time to think about what is happening to our country. And while you are at it, quit only blaming the politicians. Take a second to acknowledge that much of this is your fault. We elect these men and women that continuously pass legislation that is destroying our Natural rights.

While you shovel that burger down your throat, drink that next beer, or light that next firework, ask yourself if you have even remotely invested the same amount of energy in getting involved in the political process.

Don’t like the people in power, do something to change it. The systems only rigged if you believe it is rigged. To say it doesn’t matter makes no sense. It especially matters when only about 10-15% of the electorate actually votes. You can make an impact. Remember, those men that pledged their lives, their honors, and their sacred fortunes to found this nation are as relevant in 2014 as they were in 1776. Being part of the “body politic” is your one true duty as a citizen.

Take a few minutes to talk with a friend or family member about principles. (If you really think about the numbers in this poll, we have a lot of work to do here, 8 out of 10 people you might know don’t even see a problem with what is happening in this country.)

It’s not about party, but somehow we have allowed political parties to become too much a part of our identity. Have you realized that neither political party seems to be making this country better? There is worthless politicians in both parties. It’s not about agreeing with someone on every issue. (I’ve been guilty of this in the past, and I’m trying to do better.)

Don’t compromise on your principles, but realize that parties and politicians probably don’t fully represent them. Find common ground where possible, but be hard-headed and soft-hearted when you can’t.

As a father who wants to hand a better America to his son, I beg of you, please get involved.