Recent developments in the Smith county jail, “Jailzilla” saga and the “Commissioners Gone Wild” comic drama give rise to numerous questions.
Some of these questions are legal, and I do not know the answers, but I will raise them anyway in the hope that someone will.
- The admission that the plans for the latest Smith county jail proposal were prepared in secret, as I understand, is equivalent to an admission of guilt. This law allows for both civil and criminal penalties for violation. In a county bent on maximum penalties, in a state bent on maximum penalties, can we expect maximum penalties for those involved in this crime and cover up?
- Can we expect resignations to occur soon?
- What will become of this jail proposal, or any jail that might be built as a result of this proposal, now that we know that the plans were formulated in violation of state law?
- Will there be an investigation to see what other open meeting and open records laws were violated?
- What other issues, projects, proposals, contracts, or other matters could have been done under cover of darkness, and behind closed doors, and will there be an investigation including an audit?
This situation is the worst sort of behaviour in public officials, secret meetings and cover ups strike at the very heart of why the open records and open meeting laws are in place.