JUDGE: Transparency top issue for court
This week we will make some changes to how we conduct our Milam County Commissioners Court meetings.
Rather than the single-leader format we have seen the last four years, we will be holding our meetings in a more conversational manner as was intended by those who designed our system of county government in Texas.
The first change you will notice is the court setup. In the past four years, we have had the Judge standing in front of the commissioners who have been facing forward – away from their constituents. From now on, the judge and the four commissioners will all be sitting with their faces forward, facing their constituents. After all, decisions should be made in an open manner and that means facing those whom our decisions will affect.
The second thing you will notice is that the County Clerk, County Auditor, County Treasurer, and the representative from the County Attorney’s Office who will be sitting where the Commissioners used to sit, facing the Commissioners. This will allow us to actually discuss the items on the agenda not only amongst ourselves, but with these key people as well. Their opinions, advice, and information are vital in making good decisions for the people of Milam County.
Third, we will be discussing the issues, in the open, and in the public. And to ensure the discussion is informed, everyone will have plenty of time to study up on the topics before we meet. Our goal is to get the agenda out a week ahead of time and the important documents that are relevant to the meeting will be added to the agenda in the form of exhibits to the agenda. While decisions are made by those who show up, they must be well informed as well.
Lastly, in this first meeting we will be renewing our procedures for decorum of the Commissioners Court. These are the local rules we follow during Commissioners Court. They have not been updated since 1999, but to be honest, except for a couple of things not much will change. The main thing is that we will extend public participation from three minutes a speaker to 5 minutes a speaker. This should allow some folks more time to address the court. We will also be taking the employer information off of the Public Participation form as that should not be a requirement on the form.
Overall, the changes we are making to Commissioners Court are made to allow it to function as it should and to represent the needs of the people of Milam County in a much more efficient and transparent manner.
Unfortunately, we will not have our meetings online until we solidify our venue and obtain the required camera system. We intend to take care of this in short order. Until then, please consider joining us, all our meetings are open to the public and we welcome the public to come to the Courthouse and join us.