I am amazed to learn elected, public officials; adults who, presumably conduct their personal lives with efficiency, must travel "out of town" to a resort area to be able to sit in a room without disturbance to conduct the business of the people whom they represent. Bulloch County Courthouse Annex, has a meeting room that would accommodate these meetings, free of travel and already paid for and available. There are other local sites as well.
1. Convene the people
2. Cut off the phones
3 Shut the door
4 All knowing the meeting is not to be disturbed.
First and foremost I would like to ask the question; Are these private, closed meetings even legitimate? Governmental business must be held under the Sunshine Law.
No means of publication were invited or attended these meetings. As far as I have found:
1. No agenda prior to or after
2. No decisions proposed or made
3. No benefits gleaned have been given to we, the people.
I am also amazed that seemingly, from what is read in the newspaper, the chamber of commerce, a private organization working for private persons and businesses, seems to have been the instigator, leader, and program director of the meetings constituted of elected public officials. This private organization not paying the expenses of the meeting or travel leaving the taxpayers to pick up the costs. Who is running the governments of our county, private special interests or those elected by the people to do so?
Also amazed, when attending a political meeting previously, to be introduced to a "panelist on economic development” named David Holland who was listed as and answered to the title of Director of the Development Authority of Bulloch County, who is in fact another adjunct of the chamber of commerce rather than an official county employee. We learned very little from him except that the county has not attracted new businesses due to the present state of the economy; that more land would be needed in the future for industrial development and the county was doing all it could not to lay off personnel at this time of economic downturn.
Elected officials should not be politicians first and conductors of the people's business at the elected's most lucrative and enjoyable convenience. I was delighted to read not all commissioners were compliant with the resort meeting, yet enough were that the meeting(s) were conducted with substantial per diem and individual travel expenses included.
Our country and state are experiencing severe economic deficit due to selfish and greedy as well as uneducated decisions of the past several years. It is hoped our local governments might see this, learn from the facts and conduct local business better.
E. Ruth Green, Ph.D.