Music to our ears

Published 11:05 am Saturday, February 20, 2010

Consolidation of the Franklin and Southampton County departments of social services — as is being considered by the two localities — is precisely the kind of cooperation and innovative thinking that will be necessary to guide our region through the rough waters of a steep economic recession and shrinking tax base.

We applaud Franklin City Manager June Fleming and Southampton County Administrator Mike Johnson for their work to date on the initiative and look forward to learning the findings of a panel they plan to appoint to study the matter further.

Consolidation makes sense on many levels — from more efficient service delivery for clients to potential cost savings for taxpayers. Though the early assessment is that consolidation wouldn’t save much money, we believe significant dollars can be saved if leaders try hard enough and craft the right plan.

At a minimum, consolidation would eliminate one executive director’s position and the salary and benefits that go with it. Surely there’s the potential for other administrative savings in a combined department.

The fact that the city and county are at least discussing the possibility of a merger is most encouraging. We wish them well in the pursuit.