Censure the Chair?
The tip line, hughakston@hallcountytruth..com, turned up an interesting tip the other day. Evidently, the unanswered question #1 was the target of an open records request made back on February 10, 2011. You may remember that Councilmember Richards with Flowery Branch was censured for not providing e-mails from her personal devise. Well, according to my sources, there are records from a former commissioner that were requested and not turned over.
The actual request came from a council member from Clermont. In the request he said:
This is interesting. You may remember that our tip line provided some evidence for unanswered question #1:
If you notice, this e-mail met the three conditions: email@example.com is in the “from”, firstname.lastname@example.org is in the “cc”, and “Hall County Commission” is in the body. My source disclosed that this e-mail did not show up in the open records request from the councilman.
Considering that Commissioner Banks is no longer on the board, the question is if the Chairman should have provided the information and if so, will he be censured or worse? The violation of the Open Records Act does come with a penalty; “O.C.G.A. § 50-18-74 (a) Any person knowingly and willfully violating the provisions of this article by failing or refusing to provide access to records not subject to exemption from this article or by failing or refusing to provide access to such records within the time limits set forth in this article shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $100.00.” Sure $100 is not big deal for the Chairman, but potentially, it would prevent him from running for office (O.C.G.A. § 21-2-6). The same could probably be said for Commissioner Banks.
Since the Times was also on the cc of this e-mail, perhaps they will fall on their sword again and take responsibility for the Chairman’s and Commissioner Banks’ failure to adhere to the Open Records Act.
Hugh Hall County Akston