County augments information policy

Jan. 08, 2013 @ 10:55 AM

The Rutherford County Commission may have created some finality to its ongoing issue regarding information requests from commissioners.

During its regular meeting Monday, commissioners approved policy augmentations that include giving all commissioners information requested by one member of the Commission and allowing the County Manager to report any requests that may "substantially alter the workload" of a county employee.

Rutherford County Manager Carl Classen said that the new changes create equality among all the commissioners.

"You are a body of five and, if we give it to one, we give it to all five," Classen said. "That way no one is surprised by what information is being requested and what is given."

However, Commissioner Bo Richard — who has made three different information requests over the last two months — said that sharing the information was not necessary.

"We each need to have the right to work on our own projects," Richard said. "If the Chairman is working on something, he can give it to me when he wants to."

He also contended that the new policy changes treat commissioners different from private citizens when it comes to information requests.

County Attorney Richard Williams said that the new policy is not intended to make the distinction but, commissioners are privy to asking for different information than a private citizen.

"As a Commissioner, you have the right to ask for information like Attorney-Client privilege and personnel," Williams said.

Williams also said that the new policy changes do not take away a commissioner's right as a private citizen to make information requests.

"You still have the right to all the information that a private citizen has and those would be treated as a public records request," Williams said.

Earlier in the meeting, Richard's request to review documentation regarding Foothills Connect was approved. Classen said that the cost associated with fulfilling the request was estimated to be $270.

However Richard said that providing the information he requested to all five members of the Commission was a waste.

"My request has been to inspect and examine and, to my understanding, no other commissioner has made that request," Richard said. "To give the information to all would be a waste of taxpayer dollars, in my opinion."

In other business, commissioners:

• tabled an appointment to the Airport Appeals Board;

• reappointed Commission Chairman Julius Owens to the Jury Commission;

• tabled the methane gas rate agreement to its February meeting;

• approved a one-year lease of property at 475 West Main Street to Peer Support Services for the amount of $1;

• approved the Airport Transportation Improvement Program for 2014-2018;

• accepted the county's financial audit for fiscal year 2012;

• accepted the county fire department audits for fiscal year 2012;

• approved a financing plan for its vehicle replacement program at a rate of 0.897 percent from US Bancorp;

• approved its 2013 meeting schedule with the change of the September meeting to the second Monday due to the Labor Day holiday;

• approved a bid of $389,812.50 from CC Strickland Grading for project 7 of the Grey Rock development.