There has been a dispute over water and waste-water rates/usage between the city of Midway and the Liberty County Development Authority since 2008. Although meetings regarding the matter reportedly were held June 4, 2010, and Dec. 3, 2010, the council supposedly didn’t learn about what had transpired at the meetings until April 11, 2011.
According to the minutes of the March 8, 2010, council meeting, the city attorney suggested to the council that it needs to explore existing agreements regarding the rates, but when Councilman Terry Doyle requested these documents from city clerk Lynette Cook-Osborne, they never were found. It appears there’s no filing system in place — at least not one that makes sense.
Out of frustration, Doyle requested and obtained the agreements from the Liberty County Development Authority in February 2011.
At the June 4, 2010 meeting, according to Doyle, the mayor and city clerk said they weren’t aware of two agreements between the city and the LCDA and that they didn’t have copies. On June 10, the LCDA sent copies of the agreements. Yet, on Dec. 3, 2010, the Midway mayor and city clerk advised the LCDA that they hadn’t received any copies and that they weren’t familiar with the contents. The LCDA again emailed the documents. Guess what? The city clerk had not only signed them but notarized them as well.
The city’s files aren’t digitally organized. But city ordinance Section 2-4-1 states, “. . . the city clerk shall perform the following duties: (2) preserve the codes, records and documents belonging to the city and maintain a proper index to all records and documents.”
In 2010, the goal for the city clerk was to develop and implement a comprehensive filing plan. This goal was not met, and here we are in 2012 — and I still question the city’s filing system. I was told it would take more than two hours to find documents that I requested in November — documents that should have been readily available. The mayor is doing nothing to resolve this problem.
What would you do if someone owed you $286,851? Make a demand for the money? This money has been owed for services provided by the city of Midway to the LCDA. Maybe if the money was collected, Midway residents would not be paying taxes on their electric bills.
Since we elected the council to represent Midway residents, the mayor should keep them informed on developments and supplied with agreements, ordinances, signed meeting minutes and other important paperwork.
If the mayor is unable to properly oversee the operation of the city, she should resign and let someone who can do the job properly take over. If the city clerk cannot file and organize paperwork, she should be replaced.
Calderone is a conservative who lives in Midway. He is a professional salesperson and for 30 years has written articles for trade publications in various fields.