Letter: Commissioners asked if they believe in openness of government

Dear Editor,

On February 26, I attended the morning session of the Nemaha County Commission meeting. During the Open Public Forum, I used the five minutes allotted to any one member of the public to speak to the County Commission. During that time, I spoke on two concerns I have with what I can observe of the County Commission meetings through mainly the minutes of the meetings since I am not able to attend all meetings.

Following is what I shared with the Commission on my first concern. Since I not only shared this information verbally with the Commission, I gave each Commissioner a copy of my remarks as well as a copy to the County Clerk to include in the minutes file, I decided I should share the same with the public through this Letter to the Editor.

This letter will only include what was said about one of my concerns. The other concern will appear in a later letter.

Here is the first part of my comments to the Commission:

“You all know me but for the record I am Freda Dobbins from southern Nemaha County and within a few weeks will have lived and paid taxes in Nemaha County for 50 years.

“I am here today to ask first that you really abide by the County Commission Code of Ethics as it appears on the County Website. According to it, the County Commission ‘should be vigorously dedicated to the democratic ideals of honesty, openness and accountability in all public matters involving county government’,

“I question whether you really believe in openness of government. Since the majority of this Commission took office, you have quit providing the YouTube recordings of the County Commission meetings. I have heard that your ‘reason’ for such was the computer quit working. Surely you could have purchased a new one, as during the time since the old computer supposedly died, you have purchased all kinds of furniture for offices and you created two new ‘departments’.

“The second reason I question you believe in openness in government, is that I now have a total of 5 minutes to share my thoughts with you during each weekly meeting. What happened to a taxpayer stopping by when they had a few minutes to share thoughts with the County Commission??

“And third, you added an appointed position, County Administrator, between you and the taxpayers. It appears he is doing what you were elected to do, but now you can ‘hide’ behind him and his recommendations.”

If you share my concern on the lack of openness in the County Commission meetings – especially the lack of a recording of the meeting- please express your concern to your County Commissioner.

Freda Dobbins

Goff

This letter is paid for by Freda Dobbins.

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