I was curious about how the Somervell County Commissioners court minutes looked as of today, Oct 2 1014. For one thing, they were only posted through March 31 of 2014 (missing April, May, June, July, August, September and any meetings that might have been held in October . Reminds me of this from 2010. I called up to ask why the minutes after that are not on the Somervell County website and was told that they are going to a new system that apparently still has some flaws and that the guy who puts up the minutes hadn't gotten around to it yet. AND the minutes that are there don't have signatures but only blank lines FOR signatures. (Here's from the March 31 special meeting, with link to the document). I asked if the commissioners court really does sign the documents and Nicky told me, yes, they do, but the one on the internet is not the signed copy, that I could come in and look on some system that you can only access at the courthouse to see the signatures. I actually don't understand, since it's my understanding that all the documents are scanned in to BE in the system, why there would be two different copies of the same thing (one signed and one unsigned). In fact, if I remember right, Ron Hankins was still the county attorney in 2010, with Walter Maynard as judge-NONE of the agendas posted under 2010 have signatures. At least, the ones posted on the county website are not the certified, signed ones, so for the casual citizen looking at the site, he or she cannot know if the one there is official or certified.
UPDATED to add video of the 9/24/2014 meeting in which adding signatures to the minutes was discussed at the hospital board meeting, just watched it. It's just amazing to me how HOSTILE Ron Hankins is, what in the world is up his butt and he seems to direct his ill temper and bad manners almost always towards Paul Harper. Maybe it's just me because I'm Harper's wife, but it's hard to understand why Hankins wants to continually attack Harper and egg the audience on to do it. Rough Transcript ahead. Ron Hankins noted that the commissioners court signs the minutes, although he appeared not to know that the digitized copy is not kept on the Somervell County website. Paul Harper said that after the minutes are approved copies are sent to the public relations director for posting on the website and a copy to Ray Reynolds, that all the minutes have been provided to administrator Ray Reynolds. "If you think they haven't been, I have emails that will show otherwise". Ron Hankins then talks about how it's a good idea for them to start signing minutes. Ray Reynolds "We've asked for copies of the minutes and you've referred us to the website". Paul Harper, that's right, we need one copy posted on the website and everyone pull for there and that way you don't screw up and have multiple copies floating around... we never signed them, we approved them but we never signed. Ron Hankins-well, we need to start signing them. Pau Harper Is that documented somewhere that they need to be signed? Ron Hankins It says in the bylaws article 11 that the district shall keep the minutes Paul Harper I have no problem signing them. Nobody's ever brought it up until now, first I've heard of anyone signing. Ray Reynolds, if you will send those to me and I'll see that they're posted on the website and that they're filed away in the official binder. Ron Hankins then goes on to imply that the secretary, with only one signature, can make up whatever he wants to. Paul Harper: That's fine from now on I'll have signatures for all us with the minutes. Ron Hankins- Bless You. Bless you. Paul Harper You don't have to be a smart aleck about it If you bring up a suggestion about it, I'm happy to oblige. Ron Hankins makes a motion to get minutes signed. Paul Harper- I may not have ccd Sharla on the emails but I ccd you Ray on the emails I sent to Ashley and I had her post them on the website so I did not fabricate sending them to you, they are in your email.
I was curious to see what section 11 of the bylaws says but it has nothing about requiring signatures. I do think it's a good idea to sign them, appears to be different on WHO signs them depending on which governmental entity we're talking about, but doing so isn't in the bylaws.
ARTICLE XI Books and Records
11.1 The District shall keep correct and complete books and records of account. The District's books and records shall include:
(a) A copy of the Bylaws, and any amended versions or amendments to the Bylaws.
(b) Minutes of the proceedings of the Board of Directors, and committees having any of the authority of the Board of Directors.
(c) A list of the names and addresses of the directors, officers, and any committee members of the District.
(d) A financial statement showing the assets, liabilities, and net worth of the District at the end of the five (5) most recent fiscal years.
(e) A financial statement showing the income and expenses of the District for the five (5) most recent fiscal years.
How about the City of Glen Rose? There are not only no minutes posted but if there are agendas, it's kind of hard to find them. I think maybe the agendas are found by looking at the calendar and the clicking an agenda link, but there isn't a listing somewhere of all the agendas and minutes. I have met the new city secretary, and she really seems on the ball, so I believe at some point the city will be posting the minutes. Meantime the only way to get them is to go in and ask for them via open records request. Update: In fact, the minutes are not at this point posted anywhere on the website. Apparently the city had some problems with a virus that was redirecting that site to porn and, while whatever that problem was has been fixed, the records have not been added yet. I asked about some minutes that I would like to see, but the City does a bunch of minutes all at one time, so they're not voted on to be available yet.
Have to beat the drum again about how fantastic the Somervell County Water District site is. You can find audio, agendas, minutes and check registers. It appears to me that only the president and secretary sign the minutes.
Glen Rose ISD also is really good about posting agendas, packets and board notes. I am a little frustrated in that I'd like to listen to the meetings and can't do so on the internet right now, where I used to be able to. However, the public information act says a person can go in person to listen so I guess I'll plan to park myself at the school pretty soon.
The previous two boards that ran the hospital NEVER put minutes on their website. Never. And, it wasn't uncommon for them to vote to okay minutes from multiple previous meetings. I used to get the audio from the meetings since that was the only way to know what was going on. (That, unless something happened to the audio and that didn't even record). Previous meetings used to start at 7:30 am in the morning, and I don't know about you, but that's pretty dang early!
I suppose it's too much to wish there was more consistency between government websites, and that everybody kept everything up to date all the time, but at least I can still go down to a government office that is pretty close and look for myself.
P.S. One more comment of my opinion. It takes some dang nerve for Ron Hankins to insinuate, without a shred of proof, that Harper might have been changing the minutes after approval. Had he taken 30 seconds to confirm with Ashley, who took the approved minutes as soon as sent and posted to the website OR EVEN CHECKED WITH HIS OWN COPY, he would presumably have not had the nerve to try to peddle that swill. (And he obviously didn't know or chose to obscure, that the Bylaws Do NOT REQUIRE that the minutes be signed. I actually agree with that, but wonder why Mr. Whiner didn't bring this up before as, since he's the self-appointed authority on all things bylaw, wouldn't he have chosen to bring this up immediately instead of using this as another later attack on a fellow board member? If he didn't actually know until this last meeting or think about it, and given it wasn't in the DANG BYLAWS, why should anyone else?) , But of course he was doing this as the Hankins Medicine Show barker, throwing out chum with a sneer for the gullible in the audience who won't take the time themselves to see that the snake oil has no medicinal value. Here's a clue for those who don't know this about agends, minutes, audio, video, etc. ANY CITIZEN can get a copy just by asking for it through an Open Record aka Public Information request. And quite often, in my own experience, except when it came to Darrell Best, I have been GIVEN records after a meeting (the records that are open before the public, NEVER anything discussed in an executive session). I was in a commissioners office the other day and asked about the county budget and he was giving me a copy when we confirmed that the budget was on the website, ONE copy, for ALL to see and download. Saying that as a citizen, if you want an open record from something that has been created (you can't make people make up stuff just to get a report), YOU CAN GET IT. And, in my case, I chose, when I got copies of the Somervell County Hospital Authority/District board meetings, to POST THEM HERE. I got them from a board member. Guess what. I CAN DO THAT. And I didn't change a dang thing on them before I posted them; if someone wants to spread that chit, that person should have to SHOW it's true. Pffffffttttttt. (This is Harper's WIFE, I post as *salon* and I'm the ONLY one that posts as SALON, speaking, incidentally, a NON-ELECTED, CITIZEN living in Somervell County who also happens to be interested in government. I believe that it's a really easy and cheap shot to sneer and harrass and act like a billy goat at meetings in order to push discord, but how about people that live here MAKING HANKINS prove it instead of ambigously slurring others. I believe, also that it's not reasonable to expect that every elected person MUST agree with the other board members. After all, in this case, there's a wide constituency that is represented here-those that want to just give the hospital whatever it asks for without question and those that want to lower taxes, see about leasing it out, etc. But is there anything that STOPS people from being CIVIL while disagreeing? Apparently so for Ron Hankins and some of the thugs in the audience, including some prominent people, that believe it's their right to act be disruptive simply because they don't personally agree with other's opinions. GROW UP!