Questions regarding *gifts* at Oakdale Park (June 24 2016)


 

Questions regarding *gifts* at Oakdale Park (June 24 2016)
 


24 June 2016 at 9:34:55 AM
salon

I received an anonymous letter recently regarding, in particular, money being spent on the bluegrass festivals held at Oakdale Park.This is another side to add to the recent post about Oakdale Park complaints from open records request.  I am going to excerpt a few parts of the letter, which came from someone who says s/he has been a citizen of Glen Rose for a number of years and has children in the Glen Rose schools. That person informally heard some conversation about the last Bluegrass festival that took place in Glen Rose. Now, what was said could have entirely been some people's opinions, without a lick of verity to it, or, because communication can be faulty, might have been misunderstood by the listener.  I have starred out the names of the people referred to. The conversationlist said, according to the letter writer

...their organization was not happy with the new manager of the park because he did not "give them the things" that **** used to provide to them. They said that **** used to buy gifts for their group to give out to visitors at the Bluegrass Festival and free cabins and rv spaces. There were other items.. mentioned that **** provided them like food and beverages. What they did not like was the new manager told them that he could not spend taxpayer mony on gifts and other items that **** used to provide them. 

I yesterday attempted to confirm whether the above was true or not with both the manager of Oakdale Park, as well as the city adminstrator. The manager, David E referred me to the city administrator, who was not at city hall mid-afternoon. 

They went on to say that three members of their club, ****, *** and **** were in good city positions to get the Bluegrass club more city funding. ... now that the elections were over, **** was going to do more to get more city funding for them, one mentioned that **** had to keep quiet before the election because **** did not want it to affect ... reelection. They said that ***, *** and **** were going to start complaining about the new manager at the park, and things they did not like him doing and that this would force him to do more things for the club. .. that all the members of the Bluegrass club should also start complaining about everything they didn't like. .. that **** told them that now that **** and **** were off the council that more city funds could probably be obtained for the Bluegrass Club. One said he was glad that **** was off the council because *** had started to look into things done by **** that could have caused problems for the club. One person said that *** was going to talk with the two new council members and convince them to support more city money for the club., that since *** was a long time council members **** could easily swing the new council members into seeing things *** way, that when ****, **** and ***** got everything set up at a council meeting that they would let them know and that all the club members would need to show u at the council meeting to pressure the council into voting for money for them... "Don't worry, I was told that if we get enough people there at the meeting the council will give in to the pressure".

I certainly have heard and received information about the complaints from the bluegrass group about Oakdale Park. I believe people are always justified to express their opinions, including beefs, but am not thrilled at the idea that there would be any attempts to artificially bump up complaints or stir up discontent about David E (manager of Oakdale Park)  in order to get more money  for one private club and event. That is predicated on finding out whether there is a policy, accountability and fairness. 

The letter writer wonders

Can council members get together with other council members outside a meeting and plan things to be done at council meetings? I thought that was the whole purpose of open meetings. 

Take a look at the Texas Open Meetings Act, page 17-19. If you believe that there has been a violation of TOMA, you can bring it to the county or district attorney.

Can taxpayer money be used to buy things for private clubs? I have gone to the Bluegrass festivals in the past and had to pay admission. Where is the money going? 

Excellent questions. Seems to me there are several prongs. One is the check and credit card register for Oakdale, with itemized receipts. The second is the report that Oakdale Park gives to the city each month which presumably would also have line item information on expenditures. Third, the city should have a written policy regarding freebies-if it is true that at least one group received freebies, then on what basis? Did every private group get freebies? Every event? Was it documented which group(s) got freebies and which one's didn't? If additional money is spent for particular festivals and events, how much money does that represent? Is it itemized? Was it itemized? (Again, assuming the above is true, have not confirmed that in fact any private group got, say, free RV spaces or free food. 

How can **** be a member of this bluegrass club and then vote money for them? 

Again, excellent question. Seems to me that any vote that involves giving money to a group of which someone is a member requires a recusal when the vote takes place. 

Here's what I believe. I believe any citizen has the right to petition, speak up and lobby government for something he or she wants. If government decides to act on this, the deliberations and actions should take place in an open meeting all can attend, with the exception of executive sessions.  If taxpayer money is involved, anyone should be able to know, by attending meetings, talking to elected officials or doing open records requests to see, for example, check registers, exactly where every penny is being spent. (A private entity has no such obligation but equally anyone can choose not to frequent a business that is not transparent; govenment MUST be). 

Johnny Martin, who was on 5/15/2015 a City council member, had a question about expenses at Oakdale. 

 
It's not clear to me how much the City of Glen Rose subsidizes festivals at any level. For example, are the events paid to come here? Is there 4b money that goes for a grant? If, as the writer says, every person that attends pays admission fees,does it cover the cost of the event? If anyone knows, please comment on this post or send a message to salon@glenrose.net 

 


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