Friday, February 17, 2006

'Commissioners tighten up agenda process '

This is an excellent move by Commissioner Godwin. News Reporter

Columbus County Commission Chairman Kip Godwin responded to criticism last week that the county’s airport management contract with a private company was approved as a last-minute add-on item to the board’s agenda by instituting new policies for department heads.

An add-on item gives the public no advance warning and commissioners little time for review.

Godwin wants commissioners to have more time to review everything that goes on the agenda, especially contracts, agreements and legal documents. He has banned add-on items except in “critical or urgent” situations.

The rest is in the extended section.

“If a situation arises where there is an add-on, it must be approved and cleared by the (county manager, county attorney and Godwin),” he said

Godwin said he is also instituting a pre-agenda meeting with the county manager, county attorney and clerk to the board to review all items submitted prior to their placement on the agenda.

“This new procedure will hopefully alleviate some of the concerns we have had in the past with add-ons or items tabled for lack of details,” he said.

Department heads have to submit items for the board agenda one week before the Monday night meetings. The previous deadline was Wednesday at noon. Contracts, agreements and other legal documents that require review by the county attorney must be submitted at least two weeks prior to the meeting.

Budget amendments and other financial documents that require review by the finance committee and finance officer also must be submitted two weeks early.

The board has had a history of using add-on items, which gives the public no notice of a pending action. It also has a history of tabling items because staff furnished them with incomplete information prior to the meeting.

Sammy Hinson, president of the grass-roots political group Columbus County Citizens for Better Government said Godwin’s move is good government.

“I think the people should have time to know what’s coming up before it’s brought up in a meeting and voted on,” Hinson said.

Commissioner James Prevatte agreed.

“I do think it’s a good thing not to have any add-ons,” he said. “I told Kip today how pleased I was (with his new policy). I don’t think unless it’s an emergency that things should be added on to the agenda.”

Godwin said he spoke to County Manager Jim Varner and let him know that it is commissioners who decide what gets on the agenda, not the county’s staff.

posted by David at 2:05 PM :: Permalink ::

Comments on "'Commissioners tighten up agenda process '"


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (27 April, 2006 13:24) : 

On another subject...

Columbus County Animal Shelter still uses a gas chamber to kill all animals! Talk to your commissioners and county manager about it TODAY! These dogs and cats are suffering and need you to speak for them. Read more about it on WWAY Channel 3 website. They just did a story.


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