Editor, I haven’t given up on this cause against the unethical behavior of our local government.
Over a week ago, I received a reply from the attorney general after sending him information. It was very positive and already has brought results as far as the Open Meetings and Records Law goes. After two months of being ignored and not given any documents, I now have everything I requested. The AG clarified the law to the city and also gave me advice on the next step.
The attorney general’s office only acts as a mediator between two parties and cannot act as a lawyer for the public.
A letter was sent to Mr. Kitchings and I received a copy of this letter. He has to reply to the attorney general within 10 days. One of the issues is why the DVD was erased from the computer after I had continually requested it for 12 weeks. There are several issues to address in their reply. It’s said you can’t fight city hall; the main reason is because they are their own law. The mayor is the executive and should know when actions taken by the council are illegal and put a stop to the behavior. The city has a charter and ordinances, which are the laws to go by. If one council member should want a family member hired, it would be up to the rest of them to say no. Our local government doesn’t work that way. They all want their families hired so they go against their own laws to do so. This leads to no one in a leadership position to abide by the law.
There was a recent article in the Jesup Press Sentinel about the Sunshine Laws. Attorney General Sam Olens wants it to be easier for the public to understand. He also would like fines increased for governments who meet secretly or refuse to turn over records covered under the law. Public officials sometimes forget that in this country, the public is the boss.
— Janis M. Goode