Of course, the real story behind the article in the Mirror is why any of this documenting is even necessary. Read these examples of what goes on in the public meetings:

  • At the meeting last Thursday, Commissioner Gates introduced a ‘minor’ change to the meeting schedule for next year. Even thought the regular meetings have had a 4pm start time for several years, because attorney Joe Quinn (Not a Board Commissioner) might have had conflicting commitments, Gates changed the start time for the 2011 meetings to accommodate the attorney. Keep in mind that the attendance of an attorney is not a requirement of holding a board of commissioners meeting. Gates just apparently wants to have one at every meeting. Does Gates feel so insecure that he needs an attorney present whenever he speaks in public? Because this is a public meeting, why in the world would you reschedule it for earlier in the day? How many people are not able to make the meetings now because they are still at work? Wouldn’t later in the afternoon be better if you were really intent on being open and accessible to the public? Or is the purpose of the board to disregard the attorney general description “The purpose of the Open Public Meetings Act is to allow the public to view the decision making process of government.” (BTW, since some of the board members are habitually late to the 4pm start time, one can only imagine what a 3pm start time will result in.)
  • Or that last month Gates makes a sudden and shocking announcement that he has ‘renegotiated’ the Chiefs contract and wants immediate approval even though the ‘old’ contract was good for several more years! (last item in article)
  • Or that Comm Fossos finds the simple audio recording of the public meeting by a member of the public so offensive that he rashly proposes a motion to cease all official recording of all commissioners meetings. (Last item in the minutes) This motion was voted on and defeated at the December 16th meeting, which Fossos failed to make it to.   (The meetings are already audio recorded by the district, so what is the big deal?)
  • And when a member of the public tries to exercise an option identified by the commissioner guidelines, one is summarily waived off and then needs to remind the board what their own guidelines say. Of course, then the board rewrites the guidelines, keeping them private unless you submit a Public Records request. Some changes have occurred, and others are currently under consideration, so you never know what the current policy is and by what standard the board is working under. (I suggested, in the spirit of open and accessible government, that the guidelines be posted on the Elected Governance page of the official website. Not holding my breath.)

While the board supposedly welcomes public comment, just try to add an opposing view based on facts. Unless you are there to show unfettered support and adoration, all you get is an icy stare and cursory dismissal from some members of the board. In fairness, not every member is like this, but I speak to the majority.

Mentioned are just some of the reasons I continue to attend the board meetings and maintain a blog to help keep the public informed.

These are public meetings where we are suppose to be welcome. Come on over and see it you feel that way. (Unless you are still at work and cannot make the new attorney accommodating start time.)

*My apology for all the technical clutter, but  it just seems prudent to provide the supporting links.

Comments are closed.

This site is hosted by: HostGator