Tag Archives: sunshine laws

Tipping fees: no contract, no list of fees, no details of expenses

No copy of the contract for tipping fees from the landfill it privatized some years ago, no list of what those fees were, and no detailed accounting of what they were used for: that was the answer from Lowndes County’s Open Records Officer. She also took more than 3 days to produce this non-information, answering the day after the recent County Commission meeting. Here’s her answer:

2008 CAFR page 38 From: pdukes@lowndescounty.com
Subject: Open records requests
Date: Wed, 12 Jun 2013 20:42:16 +0000

Good Afternoon,

In response to your open records requests of June 6, 2013, please find the following:

For the contract or agreement addressing tipping fees, you may contact Regional Commission Representative, Julia ShewChuk, at 229-333-5277. Lowndes County is not the custodian of this information. You many find fee amounts in Lowndes Countys Comprehensive Annual Reports located on the countys website, www.lowndescounty.com. To access these reports, go to the Government tab at the top of the homepage, then County Manager, then Finance, then Financial Reports. Fees are located on page 38 for 2008, page 38 for 2009, page 38 for 2010, page 39 for 2011 and page 36 for 2012.

To be clear, Continue reading

Hospital Authority meets 9:30 AM 18 July 2012 @ VLCHA 2012-07-18

According to their web page at SGMC, the Hospital Authority of Valdosta and Lowndes County (VLCHA) has open meetings:

Notification of Open Meeting of the Hospital Authority

Regularly scheduled meetings of Hospital Authority occur on the third Wednesday of each month at 9:30am in the SGMC Executive Board Room unless otherwise posted.

They added that since I last looked back last August. Hm, maybe somebody should go to that open meeting and record it.

And don't forget they're having a public hearing on selling Greenleaf 9AM Monday 23 July 2012.


I kind of like transparent government —Ashley Paulk @ LCC 2012 02 28

It’s good to know County Commission Chairman Ashley Paulk supports transparency. However, if he considers certain details important enough for the public to know, how about if the Commission puts them in its own minutes? Or publishes its own videos of its own meetings? Or even publish a list of changes that it approves when it changes an ordinance?

At the 28 February 2012 Regular Session of the Lowndes County Commission, Chairman Ashley Paulk said:

I kind of like transparent government.

He proceeded to tell VDT reporter David Rodock that

Not killing the messenger, but it was written in your paper the other day that the alcohol ordinance was kind of rushed and people were not aware of it. If you would go back to your story of May the 11th we discussed that in great depth.

Here’s the video:

I kind of like transparent government —Ashley Paulk @ LCC 2012-02-28
Regular Session, Lowndes County Commission (LCC), Lowndes County Commission,
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 28 February 2012.
Video by Gretchen Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE).

He recommended that the VDT editors research their own archives. Fair enough, but how about if we look at the Commissions own archives of its own minutes?

First let’s see what the reporter wrote that the Chairman was objecting to: Continue reading

Approved minutes … must be posted on the city’s website —Arizona Open Meetings Law

Here’s an idea, found in Arizona’s Open Meetings Law: 7.8.1 Form of and Access to the Minutes
The approved minutes of all city or town council meetings must be posted on the city’s website within two working days of their approval, A.R.S. § 38-431.01(E)(2) . In no event should minutes be withheld from the public pending approval. Minutes must be reduced to a form that is readily accessible to the public. See A.R.S. § 38-431.01(D). A public body of a city or a town with a population exceeding 2,500 people shall, within three working days after any meeting, post on their website a statement showing legal actions taken by the public body or any recordings made during the meeting. A.R.S. § 38-431.01(E)(1). Posted statements and recordings shall remain accessible on the website for at least one year after the meeting. Id.§ (J). In addition, any recordings and minutes are public records subject to record retention requirements.
No barn door exception for “if” the municipality has a website. Cities over 2,500 population also have to post recordings if they made them. Expand all that to counties and appointed boards and authorities, add it to Georgia’s sunshine laws, and then we’ll be solar cooking!


Private companies are not subject to sunshine laws —VDT

The VDT reminds us of an important distinction in yesterday’s editorial, Citizens entitled to open government,
All governmental entities supported by tax dollars are subject to the laws. Private companies are not.
As the VDT knows better than anybody else around here, getting informaiton out of Valdosta State Prison or the Georgia Department of Correcions (GDOC) is very hard. The VDT has been trying to find out what’s going on at Valdosta State Prison for years now, and getting the runaround and hitting stone walls.

Florida has a law that says private prison operators have to comply with Continue reading