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County scales back meetings to once a month

Those among the growing cadre of citizen watchdogs will find themselves with one more free night per month following the Lamar County commission’s vote January 13 to cuts its current meeting schedule in half. Although Chairman Jay Matthews was in support of canceling what he felt was a non-essential second meeting a month, commissioner George Brown strongly disagreed. ;If we have one meeting and we have to have a called meeting…say this Thursday…we notify Mr. Geiger and it won’t come out in the paper until after the fact. I think it is better to have a 10 or 15 minute meeting where the public can see us conduct our business than to cancel a second meeting a month.; For nearly five minutes Matthews and Brown debated back and forth over the difference in called meeting for special agenda and regularly scheduled second meeting per month. ;I’m just trying to find a way to make things more efficient,; added Matthews. Commissioner Nancy Thrash added, ;I think too many times in the past too many things have been rushed through in this county. Commissioner Brown, I understand your motion but I think we should think through some things and look at having a meeting once a month as a way to slow down the process and really weigh county business as it should be.; ;It could be cost saving as well,; added commissioner Jimmy Hearn. The commission voted 3-0 with Brown abstaining to meet on the second Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. and scratch the meeting currently held on the fourth Tuesday. The commission can call meetings as it sees fit as long as the notification and posting requirements of Georgia’s open meetings/records legislation is met. The county voted last year to allow itself to hold called meetings in the courthouse annex rather than at the courthouse. The county must run a legal ad regarding the change in The Herald-Gazette for three weeks then have two readings on the revised ordinance. Those readings will be forthcoming at the March 10 and March 24 commission meetings, allowing for the change in April.

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