The Mis-Adventures of Uncle Tom(my)
We're one day away from the budget workshop and I still can't get over the level of incompetence displayed by our elected and appointed officials during the citizens comments portion of the meeting. I'm still in shock that an entire board and their staff would think it's fine to deny access to public records. I've stated in previous posts about the city attorney not reviewing the state law before offering his opinion. I guess lawyers can give their opinions but when citizens blog their opinions it's grounds for a lawsuit. What a wonderful, litigious world in which we live! Sarcasm intended. In addition to my question about the public records, I wanted a truthful answer about who has access to the public records room. The deputy clerk claimed there was only one key but an alderman discovered that was not true. Since both clerks are bonded, I wanted to know if there waa only one key or was the deputy clerk lying. Well, the only person in the board room that knew that answer refused to say anything but that was expected. What caught me off guard was Tommy Dukes, Ward 4 Alderman, response. After I asked the question a second time, he blurted out, what does it matter? I know I heard this thoughtless statement coming from his mouth but all I could envision was Stephen coming down the mansion stairs of Candyland in Django asking, who is dis n-word on that nag? For a brief moment, before gathering my words to respond, wondering if my words were too difficult for him to decipher or if I could find an explanation that even a fifth grader could understand, I responded that the records are public. Before I could continue, Mayor Winston stopped the exchange because he felt things were about to get out of hand. Since I wasn't able to completely explain the importance of having clerks with integrity at the meeting, I will explain it here.
First, what's the meaning of public? One defination is a concern of people in the whole. Another definition defines public as done, preceived, open in plain view. Dukes wanted to know why did it matter if a clerk lied. Well, the clerks are bonded and the guardians of the city's most vital resources. They have access to our names, personal data as well as banking information (checks) and public records. If we can't trust them to be truthful in seemingly minor elements then how can we trust them when it comes to bigger issues which is probably why Alderman Quincy Rogers vote no on agenda items related to budgetarty matters. So that's why it's vital to have truthful people in those positions. Well, I think I've spoken enough on this subject. Later today, I'm planning on attending my first school board meeting. It should be interesting since a school board member confronted me about something someone said about him in the comment section. I haven't found the comment he was referring to but in all honesty, I haven't looked. I advised him to read the disclaimer because I'm not responsible for anonymous comments. Hopefully, the school board meeting goes better that the meetings at city hall. I also hope the Lumberton board comes to the realization that police officers are needed and they implement a plan before it's too late.