Have you ever wondered how your tax dollars are spent? Have you ever wondered how the elected official you voted for is doing? Honestly, I never thought about it or cared until I became publisher a year and a half ago. I’m not a “government” person. I’ve never stopped to pay attention to government issues and proceedings. I mean, why should I? What could little ole me do about it? I have always voted in elections by picking who I knew and who I thought would do a good job, but never actually checked up on them to see what goes on inside a board room, until I had to.
When I started as publisher, I was forced to either go to meetings to cover them, or if I couldn’t make it, gather the minutes of the meetings to be published. I never really understood what could be so important, because hey, it’s a small community and I personally know everyone I voted for, so I trusted they would make the best decisions for me.
In the last 18 months, I’ve learned a lot. A lot! I’ve learned just how important it is to attend these board meetings to see how your county supervisors, and/or city aldermen if you live in the city’s limits, control your community. My eyes have been opened to things I never knew existed. I never imagined just how much they all are responsible for and what goes on behind the scenes. It is much work, and I, for one, would never want the job.
The laws are strict and must be followed with all i’s dotted and t’s crossed. With all the requests that come in from residents at any hour of the day or night, equipment tearing up from being worn out, this employee quit with no notice, this road has a pothole that reaches China, a tornado came through and we need help, you didn’t fix my culvert fast enough, there are no jobs coming in….the list goes on and on. I commend anyone who has the guts and the patience for that job; again, not me.
With that being said, I have seen some things I personally did not like. There has been a lot arguing this year between board members with different beliefs, between the board and employees, between concerned residents and board members, basically anyone and everyone. I have left meetings before with my blood pressure high from being so angry, and other times needing a nerve pill. I’ve even caught some in a lie or two. Maybe it’s always been this way; I don’t know because I wasn’t there. I’ve read the stories that were written in the newspaper or the minutes, but those only tell half the story. Those tell the story of the decisions made, but not all the emotions, reactions, words and/or arguments that went into getting to that decision.
There has been a lot of talk and rumors flying around the latter part of this year about some illegal things going on behind the scenes, about employees not being treated properly, or not being rehired in January, and so much more. I seriously hope that is what it all is, just rumors. I guess we will all see in the future.
I’m asking each of you…do your homework, ask questions, come to the meetings, get involved, hold them accountable for their actions! It’s important to our future as a town, as a county and as a great community. Pay attention! Many have fought to keep government meetings and documents open to the public. Use your rights!
City and county board meetings are open to the public. That means ANYONE can attend. Residents are welcome to attend. All regular scheduled meetings are listed below.
City of Quitman Board - 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of each month at 5 p.m. at City Hall
Town of Stonewall Board - 1st Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. at City Hall
Town of Enterprise Board - 1st Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. at City Hall
Village of Pachuta Board - 1st Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. at City Hall
Town of Shubuta Board - 1st Monday of each month at 6 p.m. at the Senior Center
Clarke County Board - 1st and 3rd Mondays of each month at 9 a.m. at the courthouse annex.