For the budget they will vote on Tuesday June 23rd,
two weeks ago
Finance Director Stephanie Black said:
“This is the public hearing”
What happened to the requirement for two budget public hearings?
The County Chairman said they had $7 million in requests above the expected
revenue, so they had had a difficult time coming up with a budget.
For (some of) how they did that, see the
LAKE videos of the 18 May 2015 Budget Work Session.
Half of this budget hearing consisted of the same presentation from
that previous meeting.
Then County Manager Joe Pritchard
addedContinue reading →
“Once you put in your transfers in and out, you have a balanced budget,”
said Finance Director Stephanie Black.
Transfers in from where?
How does this magic work?
Even the Commissioners had no agenda to look at,
although they did have printed copies of the draft budget,
which the public could only see as it scrolled by on the screen
at yesterday morning’s Lowndes County Commission Budget Work Session,
which was over by 10AM even though it was announced as 8:30AM to 5PM.
However, it is good that they had this Work Session in public.
County Clerk Paige Dukes told Gretchen afterwards that no draft
budget would be available to the public until after two changes
requested by the Chairman were incorporated.
She did not say when that would be finished or when the draft budget would be
available so taxpayers could comment.
She did refer people to
last year’s budget.
The slides that
Finance Director Stephanie Black presented do provide an interesting high level overview.
Other than Commissioners and very few staff,
the only people in the room were VDT reporter Joe Adgie, someone unidentified,
and Gretchen taking these LAKE videos so you can see what happened. Continue reading →
327 N. Ashley Street,
Valdosta, GA 31601
The Lowndes County Board of Commissioners has scheduled a Budget
Work Session for Monday, May 18, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. For questions
please call County Clerk, Paige Dukes, at 229-671-2400 or
Some of them, like John and Gretchen Quarterman, serve as watchdogs
for the government. These watchdogs attend the open, public meetings
held by governing bodies, acquire the documents and records of these
meetings and other governmental affairs, and serve to make sure our
local governments behave like they should.
The Quartermans run the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE), a
repository of Continue reading →
VALDOSTA — An Open Government Symposium this Friday in
Valdosta will be hosted by the Lowndes County Board of
Valdosta Daily Times Editor Jim Zachary, director of the
Transparency Project of Georgia, will be joined by Hollie Manheimer,
executive director of the Georgia First Amendment Foundation, for
the open government training event.
Lowndes County leaders approached Zachary and Manheimer about
bringing the symposium to Valdosta after they attended the first in
a statewide series of open government training sessions held in
Macon at the Center for Collaborative Journalism Oct. 17.
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.
Julian Assange of Wikileaks spoke from the Ecuadorean Embassy in London today (video, text):
The next time somebody tells you that it is pointless to defend the rights we hold dear, remind them of your vigil in the dark outside the Embassy of Ecuador, and how, in the morning, the sun came up on a different world, and a courageous Latin American nation took a stand for justice.
The British government made a stunning mistake in throwing away the worldwide goodwill just gained through the London Olympic Games, by actually beginning to storm a sovereign embassy in violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations that was observed throughout the Cold War. How could they be so foolish? This man, this reporter and publisher, they think is somehow more dangerous to them than the armed might of the Soviet Union was? This is as if JFK arrested MLK after John Glenn’s first orbital flight (a step which JFK fortunately did not take).
“The legislature has given the Attorney General’s office the
jurisdiction to enforce the Open Records law and this bill will give
us the tools to do so.”
Olens said the AG’s office receives an average of 400 complaints
each year of Open Records violations by governmental entities in the
state. The bill strengthens penalties and gives the AG more tools to
use to prosecute violators.
Subsection 50-14-6 changes the fine for knowingly violating the law
from $100 to $1,000 and allows the court to impose a civil penalty
The bill also strengthens the guidelines for posting notices on
websites and clarifies the rules for social events that may attract
a quorum of officials. Also, destroying public records can be
prosecuted as a felony.
George Rhynes said he’s positive Citzens to be Heard will get moved
back earlier in the agenda.
The VDT quoted that part, in a story that doesn’t appear to be online yet.
He also criticized the VDT for printing more about animals than
about jail deaths.
Citizens to be Heard will get moved back earlier —George B. Rhynes
Regular Meeting, Valdosta City Council (VCC),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 4 June 2011.
Videos by Barbara Stratton for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.