[while we are waiting for eyewitness and online reports from the Jan 10, 2011 City Commission meeting]
Once upon a time, the City of Mt. Juliet had an actively updated, current web site – http://www.cityofmtjuliet.org
That time is no more.
The BEST way for any government body to be transparent and open about its actions is to make access to its agendas, meeting items, and minutes easy for citizens. An internet website is the fastest, most convenient way for the government to make documents public and for citizens to access them.
The City of Mt. Juliet has all the necessary framework required to keep the citizens informed and to make information available.
Sadly, what appears to be lacking is any willingness or commitment to serving the citizens.
The City website has a Online Documents section, with a folder devoted to Agendas – Minutes – Packets. There is evidence from prior years that someone used to know how to use the Online Documents section, but the evidence would suggest that the city abandoned the practice of updating its Online Documents section sometime in 2010.
- City Commission Agendas – no agendas posted after August of 2010, until the agenda for the first meeting of Jan-2011 appears, a gap 3 months with no documents.
- Board of Commissioner Packets – Last packet posted was for the Nov 22, 2010 meeting. No packet for the December meeting ever posted. As of Jan 10th, 2011 no packet for Jan 10th,2011 meeting has been posted.
- City Commission Minutes – the last set of Minutes posted is for April 17 of 2010. As of Jan-2011, there are eight months of missing minutes.
- Ordinances and Resolutions – There are NO ordinances posted. There are resolutions posted through August of 2008 – nothing after that. There is a link to Municode which has a codified version of the City Code updated through April 26,2010. After that there is a single link to a single piece of legislation enacted since April 26, 2010 – ironically enough, it is the ordinance which approved the amendment to the city charter banning simultaneous holding of elected offices.
From its online treatment of ordinances, you might conclude that from April of 2010 till January of 2011, the City had enacted only two ordinances. There are no minutes to record what has happened online. There are missing commissioner packets that might show what was proposed. There is only the one ordinance from August on Municode and the 2010-2011 budget uploaded by the City’s Finance Director.
This is an “F” performance by government at any level. It is particularly embarrassing for a prominent, well-to-do suburb with a population of 30,000+. It’s not as though they have lacked the resources or the ability to do this. The website provides stark evidence that Agendas, Packets, & Minutes have been posted in the past.
The lack of attention to transparency betrays a contempt for local citizens which is reprehensible.