Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Better Late Than Never, I Guess

The all-Republican Livingston County Commission likes to pretend that it is on top of everything, that it knows everything about government and things run absolutely perfectly inside the courthouse. So there's no need for anyone to ever be looking over their shoulders.

But when people do look over their shoulders, they find lots of little problems. Like Carol Griffith never filing a campaign finance report. Like David Domas handing out his business cards at polling places.

And like sloppy minute-keeping from the commission's debt management subcommittee -- you know, the body you never read about that's looking into the county's looming $100 million debt that we are all on the hook for but you also never read about.

Recently, someone filed a freedom of information act request for minutes going back to August of 2009. What they got were ten sets of minutes all labeled "draft" because the panel had never gotten around to approving them.

Immediately after the FOIA and the release of the draft minutes, the panel met again this week. First order of business was adopt all ten sets of minutes.

Of course, the minutes themselves are inadequate -- misspellings of words such as the names of townships, only phrases in many cases rather than complete sentences, and a total lack of detail. For example, "Option 1" with no information on what "Option 1" meant.

The county's debt is a looming problem and one thing is clear from the minutes -- this crew isn't equipped to handle it.

The county and some of its townships may well be headed to appointment of an emergency financial manager to dig us out of this mess.

I hope somebody is taking notes somewhere.