To the Editor:
I’m glad the issue of transparency has been raised by most the non-incumbent candidates for mayor/alderman. Under the current administration so many decisions have been arrived at secretly with undisclosed conflicts of interest.
For example, I submitted an open records request before Thanksgiving seeking communications related to the sewer and the Sanctuary. According to Texas Public Information Act (Section 552.221 of the Texas Government Code), government bodies are to furnish information “promptly and without delay.” Governments can appeal providing certain information to the Attorney General (OAG) within ten business days for limited reasons. Furthermore, if the information cannot be furnished to the requester within 10 days, the governmental body, must notify the requester as to the date and time the information will be available. If charges exceed $40, the governmental body must let the requester know at that time.
Not in Salado. None of this happened.
After weeks of non-responsiveness, several calls to City Hall and a smattering of already publicly available information being furnished, I finally lodged a formal complaint with the OAG on February 5, 2018, 2 1/2 months after the original request. On February 9 in retaliation, the village sent a letter stating that if I wanted the rest of the information (which included all withheld communications to and from Mayor Blancett, Mayor pro tem Brown, and Alderman McDougal), I would have to pay $1,920. The OAG is investigating the obstruction. It’s now been 5 1/2 months since the original request.
Salado’s is a government at work for everyone but you. After the 5/5 election, citizens will either have more of the same – or transparency will improve with a new administration that trusts the people who entrust them to represent the will of the voters over special interests who don’t live here.