Sunday, November 23, 2014

ARE YOU KIDDING ME???? by Larry Fillmore

Several years ago, the Town Council put a change to the our Charter.  This change involved renaming the Budget Advisory Board/Committee to the Finance Committee.  With this change, the members were no longer elected by the people; instead appointed by the Town Council.  This was to ensure whatever Town Council budget proposal was brought forward they would get the approval of the Finance Committee.  Also to protect the Police Department budget, all but two members of the Finance Committee are former Councilors.

Mrs. Morgan-Alexander was the Chairman and Mrs. Norma Wells was the Secretary.  According to the town web site, there were no meetings held in 2013 because there are no agendas recorded.  However, there are only one set of minutes dated April 29, 2013 posted on the Town web site.  It would seem as through the Finance Committee did not want the taxpayers to know what they were doing.  Where is the transparency in local government when you cannot depend on those appointed to do their jobs?  Mrs. Wells took the notes for the meetings as Secretary and as Chairman is was Mrs. Morgan-Alexander to ensure it was posted to the town web site for the people to review.

However, in 2014 it got a little better.  There are eight (8) meeting agendas recorded and three minutes posted.  The latest minute of the Finance Committee posted is for the meeting held on November 10, 2014.  The Finance Committee has NOT approved these minutes but they are posted anyway.  Apparently, the Finance Committee has a new Chairman in Mr. Fern LaRochelle and a new Secretary in Mrs. Jessica Maloy so the future looks a little brighter.

However all the meetings in 2013, and several in 2014, while Mrs. Wells was Secretary are lost forever?  These agendas and minutes, that are missing, go to the value of the Finance Committee and the competency of its officers.  Who is the biggest loser in this situation?  Naturally, the people will suffer the most because no one will ever know what took place at these meetings?

Chairman LaRochelle has a true challenge on his hands to ensure the people of Lisbon are kept informed on the actions of the Finance Committee by making sure the agendas and minutes are posted in a timely manner to the Town web site.

Larry Fillmore