Consequences of Truth

Yesterday, I told you about my attempt to view records held in a locked public records room. I wasn't expecting any problems but I'm learning to expect the unexpected. After leaving city hall, I received a call letting me know that I can view the public records on Monday, May 4, 2015. The reason given was "it's time for end of the month billing". I wasn't told it was due to an ordinance. So, I'm guessing, the water bills will not be delivered on the last day of April. As I stated, I never expected a road block on the road to freedom of information. Since I didn't know the exact laws governing public records in Mississippi, I decided to do a little research.

§25-61-1. Short title This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Mississippi Public Records Act of 1983." It is the policy of the Legislature that public records must be available for inspection by any person unless otherwise provided by this act. Furthermore, providing access to public records is a duty of each public body and automation of public records must not erode the right of access to those records. As each agency increases its use of and dependence on electronic record keeping, each agency must ensure reasonable access to records electronically maintained, subject to the rules of records It is the policy of this state that public records shall be available for inspection by any person unless otherwise provided by this chapter; furthermore, providing access to public records is a duty of each public body and automation of public records must not erode the right of access to those records. As each public body increases its use of, and dependence on, electronic record keeping, each public body must ensure reasonable access to records electronically maintained, subject to records retention.

§ 25-61-5. Public access to records; denials (1) (a) Except as otherwise provided by Sections 25-61-9 and 25-61-11, all public records are hereby declared to be public property, and any person shall have the right to inspect, copy or mechanically reproduce or obtain a reproduction of any public record of a public body in accordance with reasonable written procedures adopted by the public body concerning the cost, time, place and method of access, and public notice of the procedures shall be given by the public body, or, if a public body has not adopted written procedures, the right to inspect, copy or mechanically reproduce or obtain a reproduction of a public record of the public body shall be provided within one (1) working day after a written request for a public record is made. No public body shall adopt procedures which will authorize the public body to produce or deny production of a public record later than seven (7) working days from the date of the receipt of the request. I will check Monday to see if an ordinance is on file to see if this requires further investigation by the Mississippi Ethics Commission.

So, are they actually using this time to process bill or are they up to something else? Only the ones in the office know the answer to that question. I guess I must learn which battles to fight because the law says they can make me wait up to seven days if the city has an ordinance regarding this matter but I doubt one is in place because there has never been any restricted access to the minute books since the new city hall was built. As a matter of fact, Mayor Russel Lander demanded a public records room for easier access to the records by the public.

I know there's times when readers may think this blog is cacophonous, especially if they're the subject of a post, but the truth is not always wrapped in a pretty package. So when I say a person is inept, incompetent, unskilled, inexpert or amaturish, I'm referring to their skills or lack thereof. When I blog it's always buiness, never personal. I blog about the good, the bad and ugly aspects of Lumberton and some take it as an attack instead of accepting it as creative criticism. There are times when I was diametrically opposed, at some point, with all three department heads but thankfully, Chief Elsie Cowart and Public Works Director, Danny Davis, appreciate opposing views and they will either explain why they made a decision that upset citizens or address our concerns. Lumberton is small and those of us that were raised here, that are invested and connected to this town, want to see it thrive academically, industrially and economically. Lumberton has a slew of great people, and there's some dedicated and professional city employees. The police department is full of concerned officers but I think we're on the verge of losing more good officers because of low pay, long hours and outdated cars/equipment. The court clerk goes above and beyound collecting fines and processing court papers despite the board slashing her hours. Jimmy Holder is an excellent public works employee and would have made a great director but I think he's about to retire. One thing people must learn when working in the public sector, thick skin is required. My first year of blogging garnered hate mail and the egging of my car but if the criticism was based on facts not feelings, I made the necessary adjustments. Blogging is a different genre that's steadily evolving. Unlike printed articles, the parameters of a blog are extremely porous and its truth inherently transitory.

Comments

  1. I've been watching what's going on and I don't know who put Merlene up to filing a case against you but I don't think she's doing it all by herself. I bet if you dig a little deeper you will find Ben Winston handprint all over this. Ducker was the lawyer he used when he was trying to have Voncelle Richardson put out of his church and I bet he called in a favor for Merlene. Thankfully you have first amendment protection and I hope you're in touch with the ACLU for representation. If you go to trial request a jury trial because Lumberton is already considered a joke and this case is just another punch line.

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  2. There's more serious issues going on in the world and you have a city clerk worried about being talked about. You basically inferred that the last city clerk was a thief and someone accused her of offering board members fellatio but I didn't hear about her suing you and based on FB it seems that you two are in contact with each other. If the last clerk can deal with it then this one can too.

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  3. I notice you're not blogging about the lawsuit Merlene has filed against you. Are you under a gag order? I know you're dealing with a lot but I think you should know that Merlene's husband was at city hall with a stack of papers and slammed them on tbe counter. I think it was a print out of your blog. I think you need to see if there's a way to find out if they're printing copies on city paper. And here's a tip for Merlene and her family. If you don't like what's in the blog stop reading it. I don't think it's required reading. Less time on the blog may mean more time leRning your job you dumb cunt.

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  4. I'm from Westwego, LA and I know the Wall family and they're an ornery batch of sons of bitches. Always has been. Just makes me wonder how you ruined a reputation that was already bad. Does Brian still live with them or is it just Wayne and Merlene and the grand kids?

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  5. Dear Merlene,

    In case you didn't know, it's not the blog that has people disliking you. It's your lack of concern. We know you're not from here so you're not concerned about the local people and you don't know our history with city government. A lot of things has been said about all city clerks but one thing that couldn't be said about any of the clerks that served before you is they didn't care for the citizens. You have a very nasty attitude and while you are trying to sue the only person bold enough to tell the truth you should be working with him because he could actually teach you some things. Unless you have no interest in learning and just want to fake it long enough to retire again. Everyone knows you're not a Spring chicken. If you're so frustrated about being held accountable then why subject yourself to the ridicule? Whatever good name you think you had was sold when you became a public figure. If people could be sued for saying hurtful but true things about a person FOX news would stay in court. Do you really think you can get a person banned from city hall by claiming they're stalking you by attending public meetings. If so you're more foolish than I thought. Stop playing the old defenseless white woman role who needs protection from an overweight black man because you're not a descent, you're not good and you're not innocent. You lie without giving it a second thought and you have no idea what you're doing. Tell us what lies were told. You are lazy and inept and that's probably why you're trying to keep the minutes under lock and key.

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