I was interested in the fact that County Judge Troy Tucker chastised the Clark County Quorum Court members for talking to each other about county business outside the open quorum court meetings. As a former newshound – including more than a few years working in Clark County – I’m appalled but not really surprised. This has been an ongoing battle between newspapers and officials since the dawn of newspapers and officials, and small towns are notoriously bad about breaking the rules of the Freedom of Information Act. I really have no idea how many stories and editorials I’ve written for various newspapers on this subject over the years.
One of the most important factors here is that public officials need to be held accountable. The problem is that the general public is not able or willing to do that. I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t attended a quorum court meeting in years. That means that we – the typical person who lives and/or works in Clark County – is depending on a local newsman (or two) to keep those officials accountable. It ain’t fair to them, but it is real. And honestly, we’re really lucky to have anyone at a time when newspapers and newshounds are virtually a thing of the past.
So here’s the question to the JPs in Clark County – can you be relied on to do the right thing even when I’m not looking? I trust a couple based on what I know about them, but I honestly don’t know most of them, and I probably never will. If you don’t know about the FOIA, get informed. It’s a bit of a boring read, but maybe you can make time for it. Need some help understanding? Ask.
Here’s the next question to the regular folks of Clark County – how much is it worth to keep people like Joe Phelps seated ringside at the quorum court meetings to keep holding all those officials accountable?
— Wendy Ledbetter