Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Dumbest Excuse of The Campaign

A week after Papa Joe Ferriero admitted he plays a hand in awarding no-bid contracts, BCDO Freeholder Chairman Tomas Padilla has been attributed the lamest excuse against open government I've ever read:

Padilla said that posting the agenda online presents "logistical issues," in that items posted before the meeting could be pulled or tabled during the meeting and may not be accurate within hours of posting.

The bulk of freeholder discussion happens at work sessions a few hours before the general meeting, Padilla said.

If the NFL can update on-line statistics every 30 seconds for every game, at the same time, surely the Bergen County Freeholders can update their agenda to reflect minor changes. "Hours" and "may not be accurate" don't belong anywhere near each other in this day and information age. It's as easy as: "Save As", selecting HTML format, and uploading the revised file. They don't even PDF the things.

In addition to having agendas devoid of content, there are no minutes on the Freeholder website of what they did. We have no way of checking their arguments for or against anything. The Freeholders posted the video of one working meeting, once, and they uploaded the meeting in Quicktime so you have to download the file instead of stream it. They certainly aren't going out of their way to let voters see what's going on. If Al Gore can coordinate a 24 hour on-line concert around the world, surely the Freeholders could set up a webcam and stream the meetings.

Another problem is the Freeholders only post their commemorative resolutions. What about the resolutions awarding no-bid contracts? What about the resolutions cutting or raising taxes? They claim in their literature they've cut taxes, but there is no proof, no recorded vote, nothing. All we as voters get to see are public notices, scattered throughout the Record. Why aren't the public notices published on the website?

There is absolutely no excuse for why any of this isn't done by the Freeholders, except to deliberately shield themselves from public scrutiny.


Eric Sedler said...

One Party Rule in freeholder positions is never good. Dissenting voices almost force the majority in control to behave.
That's why I voted all Republican in Bergen County Freeholder, and yes I'm a Republican, but we need dissenting voices.

That being said, Bob Yudin running again boggles my mind. Paul Duggan (spelling?) on the other hand is an excellent candidate who I look forward to seeing in the future.

rmfretz said...

I actually thought Bob did the best of all the candidates in the debate I watched. The BCDO Freeholders sitting up there and saying they're the most open and transparent just flew in the face of reality.