Do elected officials have an obligation to report their activities to the public?


Last night (3/15), I sent the email below to Linn County Supervisor John Harris and his peers.  I presented the Board with the facts and urged John and his peers to think about what they were reporting during Board meetings.  Today, Supervisors Rogers, Langston, and Houser gave detailed updates during the REPORTS agenda item so the email I wrote below must have made sense to them.  I thanked Rogers, Langston, and Houser for being transparent in the performance of their duties.

Supervisor Oleson tried to explain away why he thought the REPORTS agenda item was a waste of time and Supervisor Harris indicated the Gazette report/reporter did not capture the full essence of his comments with regards to committee and liaison appointments.  You can see the comments on the topic of REPORTS by viewing the two public comment periods on YouTube.

I suggest you read the Gazette report, the email below, the spreadsheet, and then view today’s video and vote in the poll below.  -Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

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From: Miller, Joel Sent: Tuesday, March 15, 2016 7:30 PM To: Board of Supervisors Subject: Committee and liaison appointments?

John:  Your comments in the March 11th Gazette troubled me so I dug through the Board minutes and extrapolated the data contained in the attached spreadsheet.  Please review the spreadsheet for accuracy and reply with any corrections.

If you do open the spreadsheet, you will find that the Board as a whole only attended 99 meetings/events in CY15 excluding ISAC and NACO meetings.  Now, before you jump to a conclusion that I made this up, let me remind you that the data originated from your Board minutes.  So one of two things could be occurring:

  •  You and your peers are not providing updates during the Board meetings, i.e., during the agenda item named:  REPORTS — LIAISON ASSIGNMENTS & COMMITTEE MEETINGS  OR
  • My employees are not capturing and recording your updates.

Let me caution you that my employees have already indicated they are very diligent in recording your updates.  And we can easily validate their diligence with the YouTube recordings from 4/21/2015 until today and with audio recordings before 4/21.

My recommendation:  If you’re going to wrap yourself in these committee and liaison appointments, I suggest you start reporting on them during your meetings.

I’ve already reviewed some of the minutes from the organizations subject to open meetings laws and the meeting attendance at those meetings is nothing to brag about either … unless the secretaries are not accurately recording your attendance.

Submitted for your consideration, Joel D Miller, Auditor  

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