Tag Archives: Library Board

Transparency in government is essential to the public trust –VDT

VDT editorial yesterday, Violating public trust,

Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens successfully fought for and implemented changes to the state’s Open Records law, believing that transparency in government is essential to the public trust. The law passed in 2012 states, “The General Assembly finds and declares that the strong public policy of this state is in favor of open government; that open government is essential to a free, open, and democratic society; and that public access to public records should be encouraged to foster confidence in government and so that the public can evaluate the expenditure of public funds and the efficient and proper functioning of its institutions.”

The VDT asked for records from the Lowndes County school system and didn’t get them. Their experience sounds quite similar to many LAKE has had with the county government in particular, with records not being provided in the statutory three days, and sometimes not even an excuse or a list of what might eventually be available.

That plus failure to make even agendas for the Planning Commission available in a timely fashion so citizens can see whether they need to attend (somebody explain to me the expense of agendas; clearly I don’t understand this Internet suff), and even in response to open records requests returning paper when the documents are obviously composed in electronic formats, agendas for County Commission meetings that are just plain incorrect, resulting in people taking time off from work to show up unnecessarily for a Sabal Trail pipeline item that didn’t happen, a public hearing that wasn’t listed as such on the agenda, a secretive retreat “work session”, and not even being clear about what tax dollars for SPLOST would go for. That’s not even all; just a sample of county government lack of transparency.

And it’s not just the County Commission. Look at Continue reading

Members of the press or citizens are not welcome at library board? —George Boston Rhynes

Received today. To quote a VDT editorial of 3 March 2012:

When officials act like they have something to hide, they often do….

Here’s George’s Open Records Request. -jsq

George Boston Rhynes February 7, 2013

George Boston Rhynes (229-251-8645)
5004 Oak Drive
Valdosta, Georgia 31605

TO: Valdosta-Lowndes County; South Georgia Regional Library Director/Chair person along with Board Members Respectively, Georgia News Media Outlets concerned about open government and the sunshine brightness…

SUBJECT: An open records request on behalf of the general public right to know…

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Budget, boards, and abandonment @ LCC 2012-06-26

The Lowndes County Commission appointed people to four boards, approved a budget for next fiscal year, made some unspecified changes to this year’s budget, and demonstrated they could both stop speeding traffic on a rural road and put a cap on a construction contract! All this in one meeting, their Regular Session of 26 June 2012.

Here’s the agenda. Here are videos of the previous morning’s Work Session. And here are videos of the 5PM (actually 4:57PM) budget hearing.

Here’s a video playlist:

Budget, boards, and abandonment
Regular Session, Lowndes County Commission (LCC),
Video by Gretchen Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE), Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 26 June 2012.


Started before scheduled time, unknown potential appointments and budget changes: Video Playlist @ LCC 2012-06-25

Gretchen arrived early, but they started even earlier. That’s right, once again the Lowndes County Commission started a meeting before the advertised time. None of the names of prospective appointees to four different boards were listed in the agenda, and many of them didn’t bother to show up. Nor do we know what’s in the budget amendments.

So we have videos starting in the middle of the appointments.

  • 6.a. Valdosta/Lowndes County Parks and Recreation Authority (VLPRA)
    Nope, they already discussed that before the announced start time, so there’s no video.
  • 6.b. Appointment to Valdosta-Lowndes County Construction Board of Adjustments and Appeals.
    Presumably he stated his name at the beginning of what he said, but that was before the stated meeting start time. And the agenda does not include names of the applicants for appointment to any of the affected boards.
  • 6.c. Keep Lowndes Valdosta Beautiful (KLVB).
    I would like to commend KLVB for listing all its board members and their terms on its own web page.
  • 6.d. Appointments to Lowndes County Library Board.
    If the Library Board has its members listed somewhere online, I can’t find it.
    Nobody showed up to speak. County Manager Joe Pritchard said Edward Rawls and Rabbi Elbaz(?) asked not to be reappointed, and Kay Harris is asking to be reappointed. (They didn’t mention that Harris is also the chairman of the library board and the editor of the VDT.) Names under consideration are [clatter, bang]. It’s impressive the ways Pritchard finds to be unintelligible even with his microphone adjusted correctly.
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