Editor, I’m a small-business owner in Hinesville and, like many others, I believe I’m struggling to survive in this tough economy because there’s virtually no new business.
My concern for the lack of new business in this area led me to wonder how much new business the Liberty County Development Authority is bringing to our area and at what cost. To answer that question, I began to observe the LCDA’s activity, but there was little that I could judge to see where new jobs are being created. Frankly, from my perspective, very little of anything seemed to be going on, so I decided to try another approach and look at the LCDA’s travel expenses.
Under the Freedom of Information Act, which enables taxpayers to ask for pertinent information, I filed a request for the last three years of expense reports, and I paid the LCDA for the cost of gathering that information for me.
That information proved to be more than just a little revealing and, in my opinion, what I found was not in the best interests of Liberty County taxpayers. On Jan. 16, I set up a blog on the Coastal Courier’s website that allowed interested parties to see the same documents I received under the FOI Act.
On Jan. 19, I pasted a link on the LCDA’s Facebook page to my Courier blog. Unfortunately, the LCDA staff deleted the link about five minutes after I posted it. My blog, however, still can be seen at http://community.coastalcourier.com/blogs/detail/14338/.
Perhaps the LCDA had the right to do that but, in doing so, I believe that they also denied other citizens the opportunity to form an opinion on how they think the LCDA is operating.
I guess the question is, why did the LCDA pull the link to my blog?
Liberty County desperately needs to get the biggest bang for its buck when it comes to spending to produce new jobs here. We all have opinions and mine is that we need a detailed audit of the LCDA’s travel expenses by a truly independent auditor. It is my belief is that he or she will find that some expenses incurred have no supporting documentation and that there are no internal controls in place to keep this practice from continuing.
It is the money of Liberty County’s citizens. It does not belong to the LCDA staff.
— John Spradley