Monday, September 14, 2009

September 14, 2009 Hamblen County Website. Are Changes Coming?

As one who was directly involved in pushing for and implementing a Hamblen County Government website when I served on the county commission, I asked then and I have continued to ask that the site be better utilized to provide much more information than is currently available.

If you go to the current Hamblen County Government website (, you will find that agendas and minutes of committee meetings were posted in January 2007. Minutes then ceased to be posted. Agendas were posted from January 2007 through August 2008 and then they, too, ceased to be posted. I spoke publicly to county commission around January 2007 about the lack of agendas and minutes. The response from the Mayor's Office was the one posting of minutes and several months of posting agendas and then it all stopped.

I guess you have to keep going back month after month to remind the Mayor and County Commission to provide public information, notice about meetings, and minutes.

One county official, County Clerk Linda Wilder, has actively utilized the county website to provide information and services. She posts minutes of the meetings of the full commission, and she also provides several online services. [If Wilder were in charge of committee agendas and minutes, she would probably post both, but these, unfortunately, are taken care of, or not taken care of, in the Mayor's Office.]

I believe that this serious underutilization of the website is about to change, and it's long overdue.

The capability to post committee agendas and minutes and commission agendas has always been there. However, the desire to serve the public and to provide this and other information has not always been present in all county offices.

I am hopeful that the time has now arrived when our elected and appointed officials recognize that they have held back on providing information to citizens and taxpayers in an easily accessible format long enough.

Another quick addition to the website should be showing the times of meetings and listing the actual meeting dates for each month. For most people, trying to remember when the Hamblen County Commission meets just creates confusion. The Commission meets on the Thursday after the third Monday of each month. I am sure that there is or was a reason for this schedule at some point in time, but today it just creates unneeded confusion.

Hopefully, more and more county offices are coming around to actively using the county's website and are abandoning the standard government knee-jerk reaction of holding back information. Voluntarily providing information to the public, voters, and taxpayers. Now that's a novel idea.

Perhaps, the Mayor is finally ready to post the 09-10 county budget that was adopted months ago! Maybe the Mayor is even ready to post committee agendas and minutes again and commission agendas! That would be special, and I've only been asking for that for 6-7 years.

1 comment:

Tim N said...

I doubt the county commission committees want to publish their agendas in advance any more than the Morristown council and its committees. If the public know in advance what is to be discussed then they might actually get involved and speak out on issues and we can't have that can we?