One of the most vivid things I remember from my college days of so many eons ago is a paper banner sign stretching the entire length of the classroom front blackboards that said: “The only thing permanent about science is change.” And it seems to have proven itself to be true about almost everything, because we are living in a continual changing world, which brings us to Tuesday’s Okmulgee Lions Club program with Okmulgee County Assessor, Ed Johnson, and his Chief (or First) Deputy, Haley Brice.
Even though Johnson has presented at least two other programs, we believe it is important that all of our county citizens are made aware of each of the offices (usually located in each of the 77 counties’ courthouses) and their function since most of the offices are funded by tax money. That’s why we have had programs periodically from each office, to update changes.
We all know that every four years, each office Head has to run for office, with half of the offices up for re-election in two year increments, to ensure continuity because different offices require specialized expertise in different functions.
Johnson has 17 years’ experience, with the last five years as the County Assessor. He plans to retire when this term is up in three years. He hopes to pass the County Assessor post on to Haley (King) Brice, his First Deputy, who has 12 years’ experience and is knowledgeable in every facet of the office, except Administration. To ensure continuity, new County Assessors must undergo seven weeks of training before starting the job, and have at least 30 hours’ continuing education every three years. So, you can see the importance that experience plays in a successful succession, and not just anyone off the streets can do it.
After the meeting, Johnson told me of the many calls he receives from the Oklahoma Bureau of Investigation, the FBI, and Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, regarding problems we’re having with medical marijuana. If you have been reading or listening to the news, then you are aware that the agencies have been raiding or shutting down a lot of growers in Oklahoma because of violations or illegal activity.
Johnson pointed out that Okmulgee County has more “growers’’ than gas stations. There are 12,588 active licensed growers in Oklahoma; 382,685 active patient licenses for purchasing, which is approximately nine percent of the state’s population. In March, there were 5.75 million live plants in the state with a wet weight (harvested but not “dried”) of over one million pounds. Over $1 billion in state and local taxes have been paid (the past five years since passage), and March sales (retail and wholesale) were $152,435,824.
Hang on, folks, it doesn’t get any better, but I certainly didn’t realize our nation was this sick, although I do remember when the Dead Sea was just sick.