Monday, March 12, 2007

March 11, 2007 Hamblen County Government Website Has More Information Now

The Hamblen County government website has tomorrow's committee agendas available.

Commissioner Nancy Phillips and I pushed for the creation of a website shortly after taking office in 2002. Everyone supported this effort, and a basic website was created. However, it never has included a whole lot of information other than names and contact information of officials, various links, and sometimes RFP and bidding data.

Because the website hasn't been expanded and effectively utilized, I spoke before the Commission in January of this year (as a citizen) and asked that more information be posted including committee and commission agendas, committee and commission minutes, budget information, budget amendments, financial reports, etc.

It looks like several committee agendas (including tomorrow's) are available on the website now. To find tomorrow's agendas, go to the website, click on county commission, click on subcommittees, and then click on the Finance Committee or the Public Services Committee and you will be able to see tomorrow's agenda and the time of each committee meeting.

Unfortunately, only the January 2007 minutes of these committees have been posted.

I talked to County Clerk Linda Wilder about posting minutes of the full commission meetings a while back. At that time, she told me that she was still scanning the full commission minutes and that she hopes to post them soon.

When commission minutes are posted, commissioners, the county attorney, and citizens won't have to call or visit the Clerk's Office and thumb through books to find out about official actions and approvals taken at previous meetings. That will save time both for the people who are looking for information and for the people who are providing information.

A good website promotes government openness, transparency, and accountability---and it's easy to have an effective website if public information is posted on the website at the same time that the final document is created or shortly thereafter.

When information on meetings dates and agendas and minutes are posted on the website, it reduces the need for people to call for this information. When financial information and documents are posted and available on the web, it cuts down on records requests.

Hopefully, the next step in the process will be to get all committee minutes posted (going back to September 2006), all commission minutes posted, and to put the county budget, budget amendments, check listings that are approved each month, monthly operating reports, county and school system and M-H Hospital quarterly reports, contracts, county attorney billings, and lots of other government records on the website.

Posting records to the Hamblen County website should be routine. Internet and electronic access to public records is growing and is good for Tennessee government and for Tennessee citizens.

1 comment:

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Rob Wechsler