Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Thank you, J Fugitt!!! (a Repository commenter)

Fugitt wrote, in part, as a comment to Jeff Gauger:  Government in sunshine can sometimes blind you (March 22, 2010) as follows:
Well lets see. I have asked numerous times that the Commisioners office keep their online meeting minutes reasonably up to date. After numerous requests, Commisioner Ferguson finally answered my request and gave a reason that the minutes were out of date. (new emplyoyee {sic} was not up to speed). I also emailed the REP and Mr. Gauger indicated he would pass my issue onto his primary person who handled such issues. Finally, the meeting minutes were updated to agree with my request of no older than 2 weeks. (emphasis added)
The graphic above proves Fugitt's point in a quote below.  The SCPR captured the Stark County commissioners website moments ago.
Well, you can check them now and the last minutes published are 1-13-2010. So you tell me what sunshine is good for if you can't get to the information. I even asked for hard copies for specific sets of minutes. Never got copies or even an acknowledgement of my request. Even if I might be required to pay for the copies or postage or come down to pick them up myself.
One of the problems with the National Association of Newspaper Editors focusing on "sunshine" one week out of the year is that local newspapers like The Repository do not do an effective job keeping the sun shining the remaining 364 days a year.

Shame on the Stark County commissioners for not being able to do a simple thing like keep its weekly minutes up-to-date.

Inattention to the public's right to have information as expeditiously as possible is one of many reasons why the commissioners and other county officials can expect difficulties in getting a renewal of the 1/4 of one percent sales tax come November, 2010.

Commissioner Pete Ferguson is a nice man; maybe too nice.  Obviously, he was not effective in bringing to the attention of responsible administrative people that the minutes need to be kept up-to-date.  The SCPR has long observed that being a county commissioner is not a job for Pete Ferguson.  In the opinion of The Report, he does not have enough of a grasp of how government works in its innermost recesses and therefore lacks the wherewithal to get things done.

The Report believes that Fugitt is too generous with the county.  Two weeks?  Way too long.  The minutes should be posted before the next ensuing meeting is held.

The SCPR is taking it on to see to it that the minutes are kept more current.

A critical difference between The Repository and the SCPR is that The Report gets on a story and stays with it until it is resolved in the public interest.

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