December 16, 2014
The BOC meeting last night started out on a defiant note and ended the same way.
All the commissioners that attended last night’s meeting arrived before 5:30PM for a 6:00PM meeting as did the county attorney, James Alexander. Doug Luke was absent from the meeting.
During the half hour before the meeting when citizens were arriving, there was discussion between BOC members. There was discussion about adding items to the agenda and what they were and what was involved. Comm. Trammell talked about how he had met with Keith Ellis, Newton County Chair, at the bridge on Pitts Chapel Rd. at the county line. After about 10 minutes of this, mostly between Comm. Pennamon and Comm. Trammell, Comm. Henry asked if they should be discussing this before the meeting started. Comm. Trammell paid no heed to Comm. Henry or to his remark. When questioned by a citizen about it, Comm. Trammell turned and raised his voice, saying, “Seriously!?!” The response was, “Yes! Seriously! There is a quorum and you shouldn’t be discussing business before the meeting.” Again, Comm. Trammell paid no heed to that either, turned around and started talking with Comm. Pennamon about the CIE (another item on the agenda) and the strategic plan and how it all had to fit together with Forward Jasper.
Comm. Trammell somehow thinks he is above the law, and the county attorney winks and goes along. Comm. Henry and Comm. Salmon did not participate in this conversation, but it went on around them.
Once the meeting got started, two items were added to the agenda. One concerned the bridge as mentioned above and the other concerned the new AT&T towers being built around the county. The agenda was done and posted at such a late hour Friday, these items must have been left off.
At the end of the meeting, Comm. Trammell said they needed to go into Executive Session. Watch the video as to what happened.
Comm. Henry asked what for? Comm. Trammell just looked at him and said, “We don’t have to say.” Mary Patrick from the audience asked what is the reason? Comm. Trammell again said the law said they didn’t have to say. Charles Forsythe commented, and then Kathy Mudd, editor of the Monticello News, asked Comm. Trammell, “Which code section says you don’t have to tell” the public why you are going into Executive Session? Comm. Salmon read reasons why they could go in executive session, but he along with Comm. Trammell said the law said they didn’t have to say exactly why. The county attorney of course sat by, but he did say they had to sign an affidavit stating why at the end of the meeting.
All four commissioners voted to go into Executive Session even though it appeared only Comm. Trammell and Comm. Salmon knew the reason why.
Here is a copy of the affidavit—and they swear this is all they talked about in Executive Session. This was obtained through open records this morning.
Why do the citizens not trust these guys? Maybe it’s because of the arrogance that they can do anything they please and think they can get away with it (late posting of the agenda, adding items to the agenda so citizens are unaware of issues, discussing issues before and after meetings, and who really knows what goes on in all those executive sessions). Maybe it’s because they’ve become so important in their own minds, they’ve lost all sense of service to the people of this county.
Comm. Trammell was rude, arrogant, and defiant at the BOC meeting. Trust begins and ends with open communication and a high standard of integrity. Some on this BOC reflect neither. There is no open communication; there are only hidden agendas, quickly called meetings, behind the door back room discussions and deals.
If this BOC wants respect from the citizens, they need to start with some honest, straight talk and a willingness to let people know what is being done and why.
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