Reader questions executive sessions
To the Editor:
I have seen reports in the Post-Register on at least two occasions that the Caldwell County commissioners Court has entered executive session to discuss the 130 Environmental Park. I found this surprising based upon a decade of service on a public board in another state. I checked the Texas Open Meetings Act and all of the following requirements must be met to permit a closed-door executive session:
“Sec. 551.0725. COMMISSIONERS COURTS: DELIBERATION REGARDING CONTRACT BEING NEGOTIATED; CLOSED MEETING.
(a) The commissioners court of a county may conduct a closed meeting to deliberate business and financial issues relating to a contract being negotiated if, before conducting the closed meeting:
(1) the commissioners court votes unanimously that deliberation in an open meeting would have a detrimental effect on the position of the commissioners court in negotiations with a third person; and
(2) the attorney advising the commissioners court issues a written determination that deliberation in an open meeting would have a detrimentaleffect on the position of the commissioners court in negotiations with a third person.
(b) Notwithstanding Section 551.103(a), Government Code, the commissioners court must make a tape recording of the proceedings of a closed meeting to deliberate the information.”
Were the pre-conditions satisfied, including the written attorney’s opinion, and what is the court’s justification that public deliberation would have a detrimental effect on the position of the commissioners court in the negotiations? In my opinion, deliberation of public contracts is exactly the kind of activity that should be done in public except when there are very specific reasons why very specific issues cannot be discussed in public without damaging the courts ability to negotiate favorable terms.
The fact that there might be disagreement about certain contract terms among members of the court is not a valid justification.
Otherwise, it is too easy for a public body to conclude that any public discussion of a contract under consideration damages its ability to negotiate a contract. Then the open meeting process becomes a public rubber stamping of back-room deals.
It is also important that the public witnesses the positions, decision making and conduct of individual court members during contract discussions to better evaluate whether individual members of the court represent the will of their constituents. With very few exceptions, everything the court does in the conduct of its business should be done in front of the public to assure accountability of individual members as well as the court as a whole.
Reader praises medical providers
To the Editor:
It has been said that human nature is so prone to criticize that it seldom takes the time to say “thanks.” Perhaps there is merit to that, after seeing 74 summers – including the Vietnam Era. Take it as gospel – I’ve had more than one occasion to visit hospitals and local doctors. Mercy!
Recently, I had the misfortune of falling pretty much banging up my left knee, that necessitated immediate attention. Without delay, I consulted one of my five (count ‘em, FIVE) insurance carriers as to who would be best to handle my situation.
Let me digress for a moment and realize there are people across the country that believe that doctors and hospitals are only in it for the insurance money. Go to either and experience the madness of all the paperwork you have to complete before you can see a doctor …. Think on that, too.
But back to the reason that I submit this min-manuscript.
My primary carrier told me to go without delay to the Seton Family of Doctors in Lockhart. I did just that and yes, after filling out a zillion pages of forms and being approved, I got to see a doctor.
Enter Randall Kirtley, MD.
After the usual greetings, I went into detail as to why I was there. Dr. Kirtley actually listened to me. He asked necessary questions. He showed sincere compassion, was totally polite, friendly and above all, professional. He made me feel at home.
It came down to x-rays were needed, so he sent me to the “Seton-In-Lockhart-Family-Health-Center.” Same deal. I was treated with respect, dignity and even some sympathy thrown in.
After the usual paperwork, I was taken to x-ray.
(If I can inject some humor here, When the radiologist, Kelly, told me to pull up my pant leg so she could x-ray my knee, my blood pressure went up 10 points!) She, too, is a credit for the good name Seton enjoys.
So, I reiterate my genuine thanks for all the people at Seton. If you want to get threated like a human being and not just a number, go to Seton – Believe it!
With Admiration for the Seton Family,
Richard M. Skelly