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For years now, we have argued and campaigned for a more open and transparent county government. In both the 2006 primary and November elections, Open Government was a main campaign theme of all challengers.
One important way a citizen can know what the County is doing is by reading the minutes of its Commissioners Court and other boards and committees.
Last year's decision to post minutes, agenda and commissioners packets on the county website was, we thought, a huge leap forward in opening up the county commissioners court to public accountability.
We still have hopes the decision was not another empty campaign promise.
However, since she took office in January, the new County Clerk, Stacey Kemp, has rarely found a way to post minutes in less than 60 days.
Her record on posting minutes is dismal.
On June 18, 2007 Ms. Kemp's office posted 13 Commissioners Court meeting's minutes covering a period from December, 2006 to May. Several were 6 months late.
Also on June 18, she posted 7 Court workshop minutes, and 9 Health Care Foundation Board minutes. All From January to April.
Then on July 9, her office posted another 10 Commissioners Court and other committee minutes, covering a period from January through June.
On July 25, she got within 30 days by posting the June 26 record. Currently, the last Court minutes on the web are for the July 10th meeting - over 60 days.
It looks like our intrepid County Clerk will once again play catch-up.
On the agenda for Tuesday's Healthcare Foundation and Commissioners Court meetings are approvals for 4 Healthcare Foundation, 3 Commissioners Workshops, and 3 Commissioners Court meeting minutes for July and August.
I've been the secretary of civic organizations. I know that timely filing of minutes is important. Submitting minutes before the next meeting insures their accuracy and lets the members of the committee, as well as the citizens know what has been done and what remains undone.
How can the voters know how their tax dollars are being spent if they can not access and read the Court minutes?
In the 2008 Budget, the County Clerk lists as a Performance Goal to "Provide a complete and accurate summary of the Commissioners Court within 3 days."
What happened to 3 days? What happened to "Pay for Performance"?
After the Budget is approved on Tuesday, Ms. Kemp, as well as all other elected officials will get their 6% raise - regardless of performance.
Absurd and unfair to all the county employees who are rated against their peers on pay for performance. Here in Collin County we have one set of standards for those we hire and a completely different set for those we elect.
That needs to change.
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