This is the GREAT PLATTE RIVER ROAD ARCHWAY MONUMENT. It sprawls across Interstate 80 just east of Kearney Nebraska. It was one of the starring locations in Jack Nicholsons movie "About Schmidt." Good movie btw. It was filmed in Nebraska.
You can click here to start a brief tour of the facility.
The attraction takes you from the beginning of 'civilized' man (I believe that would be the first Republican to enter the state) , up to the present. A herd of Buffalo will run over the top of you and other such things of interest. The history of Nebraska's part in the westward expansion is pretty well documented.
Our conference was about two miles west of this monument near the interstate.
The lessons we learned were numerous and varied. The State Attorney General's representative was as usual, one of the highlights. He is a good speaker and everyone listens closely to him because he relates how other county boards get into trouble. He said most people who contact him about problems with a board, are already mad about something besides what they called about. He said he can tell right away when a citizen is mad, because they usually want the board sued and then killed.
We have a new Open Meetings Law in Nebraska. It was written because it was just too darned easy being in public office. The new law fixed that.
The Assistant AG related that one board was accused of violating the Open Meetings law by going to lunch, as a group at an uptown diner after their regular meetings. "Those guys are holding another meeting down there where the public can't hear whats going on and I want you to do something." The citizen reported to the A.G. He said the board fixed it by including the diner as one of the venues for the meeting and advertised the meetings that way. From then on the public was invited to eat with the supervisors immediately following every meeting. We learned more about the bidding process, budgets, conflicts of interest, and really tired rears.
The final speaker was with the Dept of Health, and Human Social Services. (HHSS) An agency the Governor promised to 'get control of' and to reign in. It really worked. The number of folks employed by HHSS will fall from 5200 and go to 6200. That worked. This is a massive program for a state of our size, and is out of control. I sit on another board that gets their money from HHSS and our budgeted amount from them was $17M last year and we are just one, on the long list of service groups connected to this agency. The really troubling thing about this is that the Dept. is merely doing what any good family would and should be doing for itself. Yes, some services are vital for us as a society to perform. In the 60's, at the beginning of the age of entitlement, was the beginning of the end, I fear. I don't think the Government can/or should try to be all things to all people. We probably need to take a little personal responsibility for ourselves.
Up Next: Cliff's Perfect World!