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November 15, 2007

County Charter Changes being Discussed

During the BOC meeting Monday, November 5, two items were added to the agenda. This has become a monthly occurrence with the County Manager adding an item or two or three to the agenda at each meeting. Sometimes these are very important agenda items that have not been posted and therefore the public is not aware of them. TWG feels that discussion of the County Charter is one of those items that the public is indeed very concerned about and would like to be involved in any and all discussions, but they have to be aware of it first!

“Discussion of the County Charter” was added under County Attorney items on the agenda. When it came time, the County Attorney, Kevin Brown, said that the Commissioners had directed him to look into amending the County Charter. He proceeded to tell them he would draft the legislation, but he wanted to know just what they wanted changed.

When the Commissioners were asked by Mary Patrick, TWG Chair, just when they directed the County Attorney to look into the County Charter issue, not one of them commented. Mrs. Patrick proceeded to ask the Commissioners if this was discussed in Executive Session, which is not one of the items according to Open Meetings Law that can be discussed in closed session. Attorney Brown then said, “Mary Patrick, you know we’ve discussed this several times.” With the response by Mrs. Patrick, “Maybe you have, but not in open meeting.”

After the meeting, several citizens that regularly attend the BOC meetings all agreed they could not recall any discussion of the County Charter since Attorney John Nix brought it up and worked on problem areas. As The Monticello News put it, “Interestingly, although the previous county commission and this one talked about changing the charter, there has been no public discussion of such in months, possibly years.”

Our BOC goes into closed (executive) session after almost every BOC meeting. TWG can recall only two times that these commissioners have decided upon something and voted on it after coming out of executive session. It certainly makes us wonder just what is discussed in Executive Session or through emails and away from the public eye.

Read more here: Commission to Discuss County Charter
Kathy Mudd 08.NOV.07 www.themonticellonews.com

Read more here: THE JASPER COUNTY CHARTER—WHAT IS IT AND WHY CHANGE IT?
http://www.taxdogs.com/jcharter.htm (1/23/06)

The County Charter is very important. The Jasper County Commissioners have agreed to have a work session on Monday, Nov. 19, to discuss the county charter. TWG encourages citizens to attend. TWG feels there should also be at least 2 public hearings so citizens can find out what changes are proposed and voice their opinions as to what they agree with and what they don’t. Two of the biggest items will be Commissioners pay and mileage reimbursements.

TWG
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