Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Lumpy's Plan

The Liberal local blog has been talking about Lumpy's Change Plan. However, they do not link to it. As a public service Brian's Blog is providing you the column and his plan so that you can know what you are being expected to talk about. It is presented here as Lumpy submitted it to Brian's Blog.

It is typical of liberals to talk about stuff that you have no clue about. So, we supply you the information to be knowledgeable, while the local liberal blog doesn't.

By Greg "Lumpy" Lambert

One of the constants in this world is change. Things just never seem to stay the same, but most of the time the changes are usually good. As I have been watching the lawsuits against the Knox County Commission play out I have been contemplating how is this going to change the way our government operates.

I don’t know who will win this lawsuit; it will come down to what is conversation and what is deliberation. I personally don’t believe that any of the conversations that I have had were deliberations, but from what I am hearing from citizens I do believe that folks want change. They want to know what Commissioners are saying to each other. No mater how this lawsuit turns out I think that we (the Commission) need to change how we do things.

Conversation, debate, and lobbying are vital to good government. Legislators (Commissioners) need to talk to each other; we need to learn from each other, we need to communicate with each other so that we can make the best decisions for our community. I really hope that this lawsuit doesn’t shut down conversation because that would be very bad for our community. I hope that this situation simply changes where and how we have those conversations.

I have never said anything in private conversations about the things that we vote on that I would not say, and usually do say publicly. I believe that no mater how this lawsuit turns out that we (the Commission) need to create more public opportunities to have the conversations that are so vital to keeping our government working the way that it should. I believe that we need to increase the number of meetings that we have each month, and use these meeting to have conversations about the issues.

Right now we have two meetings days per month that all of the Commissioners participate in. I believe that we should increase that to 4 meeting days per month, one per week. The first Monday of the month we could have our agenda meeting, right now we have an agenda meeting but very few Commissioners attend it. It would be nice if this new agenda meeting were held in the evenings when more public parking is available downtown. We could have public forum at this meeting as well.

On the 2nd Monday of the month we could have our zoning meeting, followed by a workshop designed to encourage Commissioners to talk to each other informally, the public would be welcome to both observe and participate in informal conversations. On the 3rd Monday of the month we could separate into our committee meetings like we do now.

Then on the 4th Monday of the month we could have the regular Commission meeting and dedicate the whole meeting to the regular meeting agenda. The public forum would happen at the 1st meeting, when there is still time to add things to the agenda for when a citizen brings up something during public forum that requires action by the Commission. The zoning would have taken place at the 2nd meeting. This would enable us to dedicate the Commission meeting to just the Commission meeting.

For the citizens it would be more convenient as well. Folks who want to talk about zonings won’t have to wait through the regular meeting (that never seems to end on time). Folks who want to talk about a specific issue would not have to wait for the regular meeting to resume after being recessed at 4:00 for zonings. Citizens could also bring up things at public forum when there is still time to add them to the agenda. Finally the conversations that need to happen between Commissioners could happen where the public could not only hear them but also participate in them.

No mater what the courts rule this whole situation is an opportunity to change things for the better. We can usher in a new era of more openness and public participation in county government. I don’t have all of the answers I am sure that other Commissioners have ideas to consider as well. I will be sharing this column with other Commissioners, and hope that soon we will be discussing some of these changes. This has been a tough few weeks but as always I am honored for the opportunity to serve you all on the Knox County Commission.


Matthew Jones said...

I don't believe that this is an issue of commissioners communicating with one another about the issues that are important to the people of Knox County. I admit that I am have not been a student of government happenings but I haven't heard a lot about the sunshine law until Jan 31st. You are right to say that government officials sometimes need to discuss issues, but that is not what this was about. This was obviously current elected officials trying to fill their positions with their friends and family. The people elected them in, and the people should decide who replaces them. Commissioners should never have been making nominations to fill these slots, and that was the issue in this case. It was not about what was legal or illegal it was about what was right and what was wrong. Thank you for allowing me to comment.
Matthew Jones

Brian Hornback said...

I agree with what matthew said. Unfortunately, I have watched government happenings since 1982. i was aware of the open meetings act ie. the sunshine law and this is an unfortunate time in Knox County.

The appointing of a wife and her husband nominating her shoudl require him to spend sometime in a cell. He knew better after spending so much time on the commission, he can't plead ignornance. But then again........