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.
If the library building is going to fall down, move the
library to another available building like the soon to be
closed federal building downtown.
Has she forgotten that the newspaper brags that SPLOST is paid
half by people who don't even live in the county?
If Valdosta had gone ahead with the MOST then for sure
county residents would have been paying for something
that they wouldn't get to use. How much "shopping" is outside
the Valdosta city limits? Harvey's in Bemiss, Harvey's in
Hahira and the stores in Lake Park.
PDF, with transcription appended below. -jsq
March 15, 2013
327 N. Ashley St.
Valdosta, GA 31601
Dear Mr. Pritchard:
It is with great regret that I find the need to step down from the Lowndes County
and South Georgia Regional Library Board of Trustees. I fear that I am no longer
capable of holding this position in light of the county’s recent actions.
When officials act like they have something to hide, they often do….
Here’s George’s Open Records Request.
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
SUBJECT: An open records request on behalf of the general public
right to know…
I looked across the street
and there are millions of dollars being spent on the construction of the
hospital, construction of the VSU Health Sciences building.
And yet what is happening, because
this is a mandatory furlough for all employees,
is that people who are employed by the South Georgia Regional Library,
most of whom are minimum wage, work part time,
rely on the income: they are going to lose out….
We’d heard about these
state-mandated furlough closings at a library board meeting.
Idelle Dear spelled out some of the consequences, and made
some telling comparisons.
Something is wrong with this picture,
and I realize there are different kinds of money,
but something is wrong with this picture if we can spend
millions and millions of dollars on construction of these buildings
and yet shut down the library and the employees who are in low income
are going to be affected.
She said she wasn’t sure most people even knew about all this.
And she heard somebody had said most people have Internet at home, but
(which was issued by the County, not by the Library Board),
is a list of fourteen numbered submittal instructions
that looks like it might have been the basis for the list of
90 items on the
Library Scoring Worksheet.
The RFP also includes this interesting section:
Lowndes County Board of Commissioners reserves the following rights:
Rejection of any and all submittals
Negotiate changes in the Scope of Work
Negotiate services to be provided
Negotiate fee proposal
Waive any and all technicalities
That last line basically seems like it could be interpreted to mean
they could select whatever appealed to them no matter what the fit
(or not) with what was asked for in the RFP.
SOUTH GEORGIA REGIONAL LIBRARY
July 17, 2012
V. Architectural (Building and Grounds Committee)
The Firm of Clemons, Rutherford and Associates (CRA)
was approved as the architectural firm for construction
of the Five Points Library.
No further detail is provided in those minutes.
Library Scoring Worksheet
for the design and construction of the “Lowndes County Library”
was included in the materials received in response to the open records request
(it’s the extra item in the left edge of the picture in
the previous post).
It lists 30 topics with a potential score of 3 points each for
a total of 90 points,
grouped in categories of
“Responsiveness/Quality of Presentation/Capabilty”,
“Experience, Design Concept and Creativity”,
“Personal Overall Impression of the architectural team”.
However, no marked-up worksheets with scores for any architecture firm