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Quarterly reports

Posted Wednesday, January 9, 2008, at 12:30 PM

In recent years, the quarterly reports made by various county departments to Bedford County Board of Commissioners have evolved in several ways.

For one thing, there are more departments expected to report than in the past.

For another, after several instances when a commissioner wanted to ask someone about their written report, only to be told that the department head wasn't present, it's now required that department heads (or someone they designate) be present, in person, to make a brief oral report and field questions.

Finally, the reports have now been disconnected from their original financial function, since much of the financial information they used to contain is now part of Finance Director Robert Daniel's regular reports to the county mayor and commissioners.

Now, once a quarter, the department heads are paraded past. Each one is expected to speak (whether they have anything to say or not) but each is instructed to speak for no more than three minutes. Good thing; there were 19 reports scheduled Tuesday night, so if each of the department heads had taken his or her full three minutes, the quarterly reports would have taken about an hour -- more than that, actually, if you include commissioner questions and the process of one department head walking to the lectern while the previous one sits down.

Here's an unsolicited suggestion. Now that the reports are no longer tied to the county's fiscal calendar, why do all of them need to be made at the same meeting? Why couldn't they be staggered -- six in January, six in February and seven in March? That way, the schedule could be a little more relaxed, the department heads could take more time if they need it, and county commissioners would have more time for questions when needed.

Nobody asked me, but I think it might streamline the report process and make everyone a little more comfortable.


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John, am I looking at the County web site wrong or is the last minutes of the County Commission that were published on it was back in 2004????

-- Posted by Lower Taxes Please on Wed, Jan 9, 2008, at 6:49 PM

Great idea John. I would like to see all committe meeting, board meeting mintues from everyone that is spending the taxpayer's money, put on the County's web page. At $3 a gallon gas, this would let the taxpayers know what is going on without breaking the bank. I am sure there are a lot of people in the county that can help with the web site, Betsy Norris is one and she works with the school system.

-- Posted by Lower Taxes Please on Wed, Jan 9, 2008, at 6:36 PM

Actually, EvilMonkey, my understanding is that the county is looking to revamp its web site. If you know any really good web designers, you might put them in touch with Eugene Ray's office.

There are actual written quarterly reports, which the commissioners receive -- the only reason for the oral reports is in case the county commissioners want to ask questions. Putting those written reports online would be a great idea, if the county can get its web site re-launched in a way that it's easy for them to maintain.

-- Posted by Jicarney on Wed, Jan 9, 2008, at 1:41 PM

Why not have them posted in PDF online?

-- Posted by Evil Monkey on Wed, Jan 9, 2008, at 1:07 PM


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John I. Carney is city editor of the Times-Gazette.
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