Open Mouth, Insert Foot
was under the impression after the last County Commission workshop, that
the matter of public records had been settled. I felt Commission had
made it crystal clear to the Mayor that Loudon County would abide by the
law and public records would be made available to the public without the
illegal and ridiculous restrictions earlier imposed by the Mayor.
Apparently the Mayor either failed or refused to understand the
direction of the Commission. According to an article in the
Herald, Arp has no regrets about his new records policy and stated,
"that's just the way it will be until the judge says otherwise."
Fortunately, the Mayor has absolutely no authority to make such policies but apparently intends to enforce his restrictive rules until some authority puts him back in his place. The authority to deal with public records lies solely with the County Commission through the Public Records Commission. It would be much cheaper for the tax payers if the Commission drops the hammer on the Mayor, but apparently Arp has no qualms about going to court and spending thousands of tax dollars on legal fees. After all it's not his money.
In the same News Herald article mentioned above, Mayor Arp made some other outlandish statements. He stated that there were papers with personal information laying out on tables. I have been in all the offices many times and never have I seen any papers with personal information just laying out on any tables. The staff in the finance department are far too professional to carelessly leave personal information just laying out in plain view. Mr. Arp should give the finance department employees more credit for knowing how to perform their jobs. They know their jobs well and would never compromise anyone's personal information by carelessly leaving papers just lying out where the public would be.
Arp made the statement, that he was afraid one of his employees who didn't understand the ramifications might inadvertently give out personal information. Every employee in the finance department knows their jobs well and would never intentionally or unintentionally give out any improper information. After all they were there doing their jobs long before Mr. Arp arrived. And Mr. Arp, at least show your employees more respect than to keep referring to them as "the girls" or "my girls." For one thing there is at least one gentleman in the office who I'm sure doesn't appreciate being referred to as, one of the girls. They do have names and job titles.
A few weeks ago Mr. Arp sent all commissioners a copy of Harvey Sproul's bill for the month of August ($7,335.00). At the last workshop Mr. Arp directed the commissioners to "shred" the document. According to the NH, Arp said, "the papers contained personal information such as Social Security numbers of County employees." If that were truth then Mr. Arp has violated the law again by distributing the personal information of County employees. Besides, the County attorney would have no reason to have personal information on any County employees. This begs the question, has Mr. Arp shared personal information with the county attorney? Let's hope not. Of course, I think everybody knows Arp's statements are just a lot of smoke and mirrors in an attempt to cover his own be-hind . I have read every page of the of the August legal bills and there is not one Social Security number to be found.
Mr. Arp continues to attempt to justify his illegal actions by leaning on nonexistent situations and making up circumstances that just do not exist. I'm sure every time he opens his mouth, he bolsters the legal case for the other side. The old saying, "putting your foot in your mouth" seems appropriate. If the Commission doesn't put a stop to his foolish actions before hand, you can bet the judge will. But with all the financial challenges facing the County, what a total waste of tax money this lawsuit will be, not to mention the damage done to the reputation of Loudon County.