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Commissioners defend move to eliminate one monthly meeting

The Lamar County commission stuck to its guns regarding eliminating its second monthly meeting despite concerns voiced by several citizens at its regular meeting Jan. 27 ”We citizens are often treated like mushrooms. We are kept in the dark and covered with manure,” Gwen Moore said in opposing the move. “I had high hopes for this new board but it seems like you are slipping back to the old ways of doing business,” she added. Moore alleged the move was a precursor to a move to the county manager form of government and would require too many called meetings conducted with little notice to the public. Also opposing the move was Brenda Ross who said the second meeting was needed as a “check and balance system” on commission performance. ”There is a degree of responsibility at all levels of government. We have a right to know what is going on,” added Fern Gentes. Commission chairman Jay Matthews denied the allegations that more called meetings would be needed and that a move toward a county manager system was imminent. Commissioner Jimmy Hearn said his research indicated cutting the second meeting could save the county nearly $2000 per month through better utilization of time and resources. Commissioner Nancy Thrash agreed and took umbrage at some of the criticism. “I campaigned on fiscal responsibility and I support one meeting per month out of a desire for fiscal responsibility. You can’t have it both ways. If you want me to watch costs, you can’t stand up here and tell us you don’t trust us,” she said. Commissioner Bennie Horton summed up the collective sentiments of the board. “I take my job very seriously. I’m in nobody’s pocket and nobody is in mine. This is a whole new board. We all take this seriously. Give us a chance,” Horton concluded.

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