Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.



'The public has a right to listen to a work session, a committee meeting or whatever name you have labeled the meeting.'

Dear Mr. Michael Fletcher, director of Columbia 9-1-1:

As a taxpayer in the Columbia 9-1-1 Communication District, I feel compelled to address some concerns I have about some actions being taken at 9-1-1. The issue I am referring to is regarding the committee you have formed to discuss the facets of a new radio system. I also understand that you have made the decision to keep these meetings private.

I am totally against said action taken by you as the director. Columbia 9-1-1 is a special district funded by the taxpayers of said district. At no time should a meeting of a public body be kept private.

The public has a "right" to listen to a work session, a committee meeting or whatever name you have labeled the meeting. And they have the right to know what or how their money might or will be spent. And should have the ability of knowing all the facts before they are asked to approve a bond measure.

In an upcoming election, you will be asking the taxpayers to approve a bond of over $15 million to fund a new radio system. Don't you think the taxpayers should be able to see how their millions of dollars are going to be spent?

As the director of 9-1-1, you should be more than agreeable to make all facts available to the public. In fact, you should be stringent in your capacity as the director of 9-1-1 to make the meetings, committee meetings or otherwise open to the public. After all, you are getting paid to make decisions in the best interest of the public.

It is imperative that you rescind your previous decision and make 9-1-1 an open and transparent body. When you circumvent or restrict access to the public, it depicts a dark light on you and the district. And to the public, it portrays a district that has something that they want to keep hidden.

Even though 9-1-1 legal counsel responded that legally they don't believe the meetings have to be open, this is a matter of not legality — it is more the matter of being open, transparent, considerate and welcoming to the people who will be footing the bill. And that, sir, is the public — taxpayers — of the 9-1-1 district, who pays your wages and supports the continuation of 9-1-1.

I am looking forward to being part of the upcoming meetings.

Tammy Maygra is a Deer Island resident.

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