It's still Sunshine Week in Tennessee, but there's a cloud of darkness over the county budget process courtesy of Mayor David Purkey. [This post has been picked up by Taxing Tennessee, a blog standing up for TAXPAYERS everywhere]
Sunshine and Transparency in the Budget Process: Mayor David Purkey just doesn't get it.
Making the County's Proposed Budget Easily Available TO THE TAXPAYER: Mayor David Purkey won't do it.
Last month, I asked the county commission to place the proposed county budget on the Hamblen County website when the budget process begins in April. Commissioner Phillips had it put in committee for consideration on March 9.
I began pushing for this when I was on commission. As a commissioner, I had the budget documents in front of me, but the citizens and taxpayers couldn't see anything and had no way of getting the same budget information unless they wanted to make a trip to the Courthouse and pay the Mayor's office $20 or so to get copies.
When my proposal to make the proposed budget available online was considered in committee, Mayor Purkey threw out a number of (meaningless) objections and then his real objection.
Purkey said one reason he couldn't put the proposed county budget on the county website is that he doesn't have a full-time technology person.
Well, when there is a bid for county work, he somehow manages to have bid documents put on the county website. And he has somehow managed to get the county's personnel manual, travel policy, and vehicle policy on the website.
You get the drift. He can figure out a way to put what he wants on the county website. But putting the proposed county budget on the website for the taxpayers to see during budget deliberations? He can't handle that. No way.
At the end of the committee meeting, Purkey revealed his own petty and personal reason for not placing the proposed county budget on the county website. He said that he didn't want to put budget information online where "someone sitting in a law office" could pull up budget documents and point out discrepancies or errors.
And who is that someone in a law office that he is so afraid of? Well, though it's been 2-1/2 years since I left office, David apparently still quakes at the idea of scrutiny and questions. In fact, he is apparently so afraid of me being able to view the budget documents and ask questions that he has decided that he'll deny all county residents and taxpayers the ability to see the county's proposed budget.
Interestingly, the County Clerk, Linda Wilder, doesn't have a full-time technology person, but she has figured out how to put the lengthy minutes of county commission meetings onto the website every month.
But long-time Mayor David Purkey can't figure out how to get the county's proposed budget onto the website once-a-year!!
Ironically, Purkey said that he would be able to put the final budget on the county website. I guess a proposed budget is a lot harder to put on the county website than a final budget. LOL!
Sort of reminds you of the federal government and the bailout...we won't let you see what we're working on while we're working on it, but we'll certainly let you know when it's all done and over with and we're ready to send you--the taxpayer--the bill!