I noticed the other day when I went to the Somervell County Court website to look for meeting notices that the existing website didn't contain them, nor the other shadow website which supposedly opened in January. (Side note that I greatly appreciate getting email notifications from Mary Ann Million and have zero beef with her, she does a great job!) The problem is, first, that the average citizen had difficulty finding out when the county commissioner meeting was, unless you knew to check the county bulletin board, but the notices are not sent out in time to make it into the paper. Second, the Texas Legislature passed into law a bill that requires, among other entites, counties to post AT LEAST the meeting notices on their internet websites, if they use one. That was in 2006. That means that the county website was not in compliance with the law. When we noticed that, we informed Somervell County about it, and within 24 hours, they fixed it.
I went and video recorded the Somervell County Democrats Meet the Candidates meeting yesterday. As one final preparation for notification, I wanted to make sure about what time the early voting starts, and verify polling locations, etc. When I went to the Somervell County Elections page, I saw that that data was correct, but it doesn't show the CANDIDATES WHO ARE RUNNING, but rather the OFFICEHOLDERS. Here are several screen shots illustrating the problem.
Here's the upper part of the page which looks accurate
But then look who's listed
Someone has obviously updated this since the filing date for the March primary election passed, because Marty McPherson is listed as Democratic Chairman, which he is. But the OTHER people listed are the ones who are current OFFICEHOLDERS, and not listed for the positions they are running for. Not to mention that other elected candidate positions aren't even on there at all! Where, for example, are all the judge positions? Or the treasurer? Or the clerk? Or the tax assessor?
Who's responsible for this? The Buck Stops with Mike Ford, currently County Commisioner of Precinct 2, and Mark Woolverton, who reports to the county commissioners and is the IT guy.
Incidentally, what about the *new* website that, despite saying it's rolled out, actually isn't? Does it contain the proper election information?
It's just sloppy. And it does the county citizens a disservice. The county elected officials and those who work for them, work for US. We should be able to rely on going to the county website NOW to see important and relevant information. Time to put someone other than Mike Ford in charge of the technology/website, someone who will pay attention to detail and has followup skills.
Update: As of today at 10:53 on 2/18/2010 the election website is the same as above. Hub talked with the person in charge of it and she is going to get it fixed, which again, to make my point, goes through a bottleneck of the IT guy. In other words, the person who does the election info doesn't have the ability to go in directly and fix the website. (She does a great job, incidentally, and no quibble here about her; she is hampered by the convoluted process). There are, I think, 2 options. One would be what has been suggested now, which is to have all the department heads or responsible people be able to go in themselves and update the websites. However, I think this lacks a certain amount of coordination from someone who has, as first priority, keeping the website updated. That person wouldnt' have to be hired as a full time person ONLY doing the website but doing it as well with other job opportunities. Whatever the case, it's not working now.