Tag Archives: news

Budget hearing public notices @ LCC 2013-06-05

Yesterday’s County Commission meeting was billed as a Budget Discussion Meeting, and apparently it was not a public hearing on the county’s budget, because state law requires such a hearing to be advertised in the newspaper or published as a news story, a week in advance. This is different from public notice for other Commission meetings: for budget hearings the notice has to be not just sent to the newspaper: it has to be published, and not in the legal notices section, and it has to appear at least a week before the hearing. It’s also illegal to refuse to provide a copy of the submitted draft budget to the public or the news media:

O.C.G.A. 36-81-5.(d) On the day that the proposed budget is submitted to the governing authority for consideration, a copy of the budget shall be placed in a public location which is convenient to the residents of the unit of local government. The governing authority shall make every effort to provide convenient access to the residents during reasonable business hours so as to accord every opportunity to the public to review the budget prior to adoption by the governing authority. A copy of the budget shall also be made available, upon request, to the news media.

LAKE is a news medium, according to federal law.

Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts has Georgia Law on Local Government Budgets: Continue reading

News so good, there’s a law against it!

I’d like to thank the Commission for the award!

Louis XIV handing down an award
at Versailles
I and LAKE will wear it proudly. The VDT doesn’t have one of these. WCTV doesn’t have one; WALB doesn’t have one. Only LAKE posts news so good, there’s a law against it!

It’s now been a week since the Lowndes County Commission passed an ordinance for no stated reason, not on the agenda, and not read to the public. It’s still not on the county’s online list of ordinances. Gretchen was covering an event Friday at which she saw Commissioner Crawford Powell; she asked him to send her a copy of the ordinance. Five days later, nothing has arrived.

So, our only clues are Commissioner Raines’ remarks that it had something to do with videoing and photographing. And his remarks that he believed that the Chairman could do it on his own, but he’d like to make a motion for the Commission to approve it.

So we have to guess it had something to do with Ashley Paulk’s outburst of the previous morning, in which he flattered me by addressing me and only me by name, even though there were at least two video cameras recording the meeting. This is what he was going on about:

The County Commission wishes from this day forward that any filming be done from the media area in the back corner of the room.
He didn’t say anything about still photography, or for that matter about digital videoing, so I don’t know whether what he said had anything to do with whatever it was that Commissioner Raines moved Tuesday and the Commission approved. Nor does anybody else know.

Now a cynic might say, Continue reading

How to get public officials to respond to the citizens?

Leigh Touchton asked me,
Mr. Quarterman, what can we do, do we have to go to the state legislature to get a law passed to force these so-called public officials to answer questions and respond to the citizens?
First of all, my compliments to anyone such as Leigh Touchton who has been doing politics around here longer than me for asking my opinion, because that indicates they are pretty good at it and are probably asking many people their opinions.

My answer: carrots along with sticks, and shine some light! That all builds political capital, which will be needed for elections.

We need many people building a community doing many things. If I knew a simple answer that would change things magically overnight, I’d recommend it, but I don’t. I don’t even know if I know a long answer, but I’m pretty sure that any answer will require a community, because Continue reading