A transparency comparison

Published 2:24 pm Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Dear Editor,

Let’s compare the transparency between the county board of supervisors (BOS) and school board (SB) in three areas: meeting agenda, board packet and audio recording of meetings.

Meeting Agenda – Both post their meeting agenda online and provide paper copies at the meeting.

Board Packet – Both provide their board members explanatory materials on agenda items in the form of a board packet, but public access differs. The BOS makes their board packet open for public inspection in a notebook in the foyer to the county offices. Access to the SB packet requires a Freedom of Information Act request which may cause some to hesitate asking. The BOS posts a printable electronic copy of the full packet on the county website several days before the meeting. The SB makes no web posting of their board packet. Copies of SB materials are only available by request and then only in paper at a charge of 25 cents per page.

Audio Recording of Meetings – The BOS records all meetings and posts a downloadable copy of the recording on their website. This allows persons who cannot attend a meeting easy access to the full proceedings at no charge. It also provides an accurate record of who said what should there be questions later. The SB does not record meetings even though recording equipment is inexpensive and available at no cost in the county board room.

I commend the BOS for improving transparency by posting their agenda packets and audio recordings online and providing the public easy access at no charge. The SB should follow its lead. Citizens need to know how decisions are made which affect children’s education and the spending of their tax dollars.

Terry Ramsey

Charlotte Court House