Garfield County behind on posting of BOCC minutes |

Garfield County behind on posting of BOCC minutes

John ColsonPost Independent staffGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Have you wanted to learn exactly what the Garfield County commissioners said about a certain subject at their most recent regular meeting, but have been unable to find it on the county website?That’s because the county government has fallen considerably behind in posting the minutes of county commissioners meetings.For instance, the most recent minutes on the county’s website, as of the middle of the day on Aug. 6, were for the June 15, 2009 meeting.The most recent minutes that have been read and approved by the members of the board of county commissioners, according to County Clerk & Recorder Jean Alberico, are from the July 16, 2010 meeting.”We’re working on it. We know we’re behind,” Alberico told a reporter.”We need to step it up a bit,” agreed County Commission Chair John Martin.Minutes of the meetings of the board of county commissioners – typically three meetings a month – are recorded digitally and transferred to hard drives on the county’s computer system.From there, based on the recordings and on handwritten notes, they are to be transcribed by Alberico and her staff and sent to the BOCC members for suggested corrections and approval. After that, they are to be posted on the county’s website.In addition, the audio recordings of the meetings are available to the public.Alberico explained that her staff has fallen behind in part because, until recently, the commissioners had wanted essentially verbatim transcripts of all regular meetings, in order to make the most information available to the public.”My clerks were typing out minutes that came to 40 or 50 pages some times,” Alberico said, noting that not only is that a lot of typing, it is a lot of reading for the BOCC before the minutes can be approved and published.Even as the clerks struggle to crank out the minutes in “a timely way,” Alberico said, her office gets a steady stream of requests from other departments in the county for verbatim transcripts of certain portions of each BOCC meeting, and fulfilling those requests slows her staff down.In March, she continued, she met with the BOCC and they worked out a new way of handling the minutes, which is to be further discussed at the Aug. 9 meeting.The new method, Alberico said, will be less extensive than the verbatim minutes but more informative than what are known as “action minutes,” which record only the agenda item, the motion and the vote for each decision made by the BOCC.The new minutes will report a motion offered by a board member; any discussion following the motion and preceding a vote; and the vote itself.Gone will be what often is lengthy discussion before a motion is made, and instead of dozens of pages, Alberico said, it should be “more like five or six,” which will be more manageable for her staff, the BOCC and the public.”I think it’s a good idea,” said Martin, “make things a little more streamlined, user friendly, gets things posted on a speedier note.”In the meantime, Alberico said, anyone wishing to obtain written or audio records of any meeting is welcome to come to her office.”We will get their information to them,” she said of public requests. “We’re not difficult for people to work with.”

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